recommended reading

Fake IDs from China flood the market, ICE chief says

A shocking number of fake driver's licenses, Social Security numbers and other fraudulent identity papers are for sale online, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief told congressional appropriators Thursday while requesting a funding boost for cyber investigations.

"We have seen an alarming rise in these documents that you can get over the Internet. They are produced in China," ICE Director John Morton said.

The Obama administration's 2013 budget request includes a $23 million increase to modernize the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, or TECS, with updated features to improve the way investigators manage cases, share intelligence and trace laundered money.

"So much of our work as a criminal investigative agency is moving from the street to the Internet," Morton said. ICE computer forensics specialists probe the illicit online transfer of strategic technologies, intellectual property, counterfeit drugs and child pornography.

Homeland Security Department officials shared their cyber plans with a House Appropriations Committee panel on the same day DHS' inspector general released a report highlighting problems with TECS.

"Data entry in TECS is an ineffective method for sharing information, as the U.S. Border Patrol does not have access to the TECS investigative module, and ICE [Homeland Security Investigations] considers some Border Patrol case information to be delayed or incorrectly entered into TECS," wrote acting IG Charles K. Edwards.

Separately, ICE on Wednesday opened a new office to coordinate a multiagency effort aimed at stopping the exportation of sensitive U.S. technologies. The Export Enforcement Coordination Center will be run in partnership with the Commerce and Justice departments.

In addressing immigration enforcement, Morton acknowledged mistakes in the way his agency has communicated information about Secure Communities, a controversial fingerprinting program that matches immigrant prints with prints the FBI maintains to flag dangerous foreigners for potential deportation.

Secure Communities has drawn criticism from immigrant rights groups who say it discourages victims from reporting domestic abuse and other crimes in their communities to authorities. Those harmed fear they will be deported along with their family members, lawmakers said at the hearing.

"There is a lot of misinformation out there -- much of that is the agency's fault," Morton said, adding that ICE needs to make clear such activities are not happening or are issues that are being addressed.

The inspector general's review also identified technological glitches with ICE's enforcement and removal operations. Edwards found the agency's fingerprinting equipment to be "insufficient" and data server connectivity was unreliable.

Under the proposed budget, Homeland Security's immigration database program, US-VISIT, which houses the fingerprints, will cease functioning as a separate agency and be folded into ICE and CBP.

ICE is asking for $17.6 million to transfer over the parts of the system that aid in tracking visitors who have overstayed their visas. This week, DHS officials said within weeks, theywill have a plan for a biometric system capable of finding people whose visas have expired.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.