The recommended institutional and technical improvements to the budget process can reduce—but not eliminate—the uncertainties that cause estimating errors and needs for revised budgets or at least temporary operational adjustments for major components of the immigration enforcement system. While they cannot be eliminated, the effects of estimating errors on system performance could be mitigated if the congressional appropriations committees provide greater administrative flexibility to the departments to reallocate resources while increasing accountability for achievement of specified performance targets.

A range of mechanisms balancing greater flexibility with accountability for results could be considered. The committee suggests the administration and the appropriations subcommittees assess, for example, whether a broadening of the authorized uses of funds appropriated to the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee would provide greater flexibility to reallocate resources in response to unanticipated needs and would further consolidate accountability for resource allocations. Such a change in account structure can be expected to reduce the number of requests for supplemental or adjusted appropriations.

In sum, the committee recommends a set of actions—both technical and institutional—to contribute to better budget estimates and resource application, contributing to better performance of the immigration enforcement responsibilities shared by DOJ and DHS.

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