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                                                      Calendar No. 241
115th Congress    }                         {                  Report
 1st Session                     SENATE                          
                  }                         {                  115-171
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       

 
                    STRENGTHENING THE DEPARTMENT OF

              HOMELAND SECURITY SECURE MAIL INITIATIVE ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1208

            TO DIRECT THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO
         PROVIDE FOR AN OPTION UNDER THE SECURE MAIL INITIATIVE
            UNDER WHICH A PERSON TO WHOM A DOCUMENT IS SENT
           UNDER THAT INITIATIVE MAY ELECT TO HAVE THE UNITED
         STATES POSTAL SERVICE USE THE HOLD FOR PICKUP SERVICE
 OR THE SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION SERVICE IN DELIVERING THE DOCUMENT, AND 
                           FOR OTHER PURPOSES
                           
                           


                           

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]







                October 16, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                  ______

                   U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

79-010                    WASHINGTON : 2017 






        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  JON TESTER, Montana
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota            MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
STEVE DAINES, Montana                KAMALA D. HARRIS, California

                  Christopher R. Hixon, Staff Director
                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Chief Counsel
              Jennifer L. Selde, Professional Staff Member
               Margaret E. Daum, Minority Staff Director
               Stacia M. Cardille, Minority Chief Counsel
       Charles A. Moskowitz, Minority Senior Legislative Counsel
                 Subhasri Ramanathan, Minority Counsel
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk










 
 

                                                      Calendar No. 241
115th Congress    }                         {                  Report
 1st Session                     SENATE                          
                  }                         {                  115-171
======================================================================




     STRENGTHENING THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECURE MAIL 
                             INITIATIVE ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 16, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1208]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1208) to direct the 
Secretary of Homeland Security to provide for an option under 
the Secure Mail Initiative under which a person to whom a 
document is sent under that initiative may elect to have the 
United States Postal Service use the Hold for Pickup service or 
the Signature Confirmation service in delivering the document, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that the bill, 
as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................5
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................5
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............6

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    S. 1208, the Strengthening the Department of Homeland 
Security Secure Mail Initiative Act, requires the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS) to offer additional mail delivery 
services to individuals receiving documents from U.S. Citizen 
and Immigration Services (USCIS) through the Secure Mail 
Initiative (SMI). The bill further requires that customers 
requesting U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Hold for Pickup or 
Signature Confirmation, or successor services, pay the full 
cost of the service, including the cost of administering the 
service.
    The bill also allows DHS to contract with private companies 
to provide these mail delivery services, if the private carrier 
can provide better service and value than the USPS.

              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Since 2011, USCIS has used the SMI to mail certain types of 
immigration documents in a more secure method than First Class 
Mail through the USPS.\1\ Currently under the SMI, USCIS sends 
permanent resident cards (Green Cards) and documents pertaining 
to travel and employment authorization through the USPS 
Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation (``delivery 
confirmation'').\2\ This service allows individuals to track 
the delivery status for their personal documents and allows 
USCIS to confirm if sensitive immigration documents have been 
delivered to the correct address.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\USCIS Improves Delivery of Immigration Documents through Secure 
Mail Initiative, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Serv's. (May 2, 2011), 
https://www.uscis.gov/archive/archive-news/uscis-improves-delivery-
immigration-documents-through-secure-mail-initiative.
    \2\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, according to the USCIS Ombudsman, the public 
office responsible for aiding applicants experiencing 
difficulties applying for immigration benefits, delivery 
confirmation may not be adequate to protect sensitive 
immigration documents.\3\ With delivery confirmation provided 
to USCIS, the USPS can only show proof of delivery of the 
documents to a city, state, and zip code, but not to a specific 
address.\4\ If the address is listed incorrectly in the USCIS 
system, or if the documents are delivered by USPS to another 
address within the zip code, USCIS considers the documents to 
be safely delivered to their lawful owner.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\U.S. Dep't. of Homeland Sec., Office of the Citizenship and 
Immigration Services Ombudsman's 2017 Annual Report to Congress 59-62 
(June 29, 2017), available at https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/
publications/DHS%20Annual%20Report%202017_0.pdf.
    \4\Id. at 60.
    \5\U.S. Dep't. of Homeland Sec., Office of the Citizenship and 
Immigration Services Ombudsman's 2016 Annual Report to Congress 40 
(June 29, 2016), available at https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/
publications/CISOMB%20Annual%20Report%202016.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If the documents fail to reach the applicant, the 
individual must request replacement copies by resubmitting the 
application and repaying the fees.\6\ While USCIS does waive 
the fees if the individual can prove the document was delivered 
to the wrong address or was not delivered at all, the Ombudsman 
has found that it is difficult for applicants to provide 
proof.\7\ Proving non-delivery may be even more difficult in 
cases where the applicant is a victim of mailbox theft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Id.
    \7\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The financial burden on the applicant is further 
exaggerated by the fact that USCIS does not separate 
application fees, requiring applicants to repay expensive 
biometric fees on replacement documents, even when the 
biometrics do not need to be updated.\8\ The Ombudsman has told 
USCIS that making applicants pay replacement fees, which can be 
thousands of dollars, in cases where misdelivery was the fault 
of USCIS or USPS is inherently unfair.\9\ Even in cases where 
the applicant has the replacement fees waived, waiting for new 
documents may have severe consequences, including ``job loss, 
inability to attend a family member's wedding or funeral in 
another country, and difficulties proving lawful immigration 
status.''\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Id.
    \9\Id.
    \10\Id. at 39.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For these reasons, in its last several annual reports to 
Congress, the Ombudsman has recommended that USCIS consider 
alternative mailing options to those currently offered, 
including requiring signature for delivery.\11\ As a result, 
USCIS told the Ombudsman in 2014 it would begin a ``hold for 
pickup'' pilot program.\12\ However, USCIS does not have a 
start date for this pilot program.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., supra note 3, at 62.
    \12\Id. at 60. (USCIS did not indicate if they would use the USPS 
product Hold for Pickup or another customized service.)
    \13\Id.; information provided to Comm. staff by USCIS (Apr. 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The DHS Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) has also 
recommended that USCIS mail immigration documents using more 
secure methods.\14\ In addition to the burden on the individual 
waiting for replacement documents in the case of misdelivery or 
theft, duplicate immigration documents that remain unaccounted 
for can pose a national security risk.\15\ Missing duplicate 
immigration documents may be used to help illegal immigrants 
enter or remain in the U.S., or to fraudulently apply for 
``public benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, Veterans' 
assistance, and government grants.''\16\ Customs and Border 
Protection's Fraudulent Document Analysis Unit told the DHS OIG 
that these imposter cases represent 80 percent of all Green 
Card fraud-related cases.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. Off. of Inspector Gen., OIG-17-11, 
Better Safeguards Are Needed in USCIS Green Card Issue 19 (Nov. 16, 
2016), available at https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/
2017/OIG-17-11-Nov16.pdf.
    \15\Id. at 20.
    \16\Id.
    \17\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improperly delivered documents come at a great cost to the 
individuals who have to request replacements, but they also 
represent a great cost to the agency as well. USCIS uses a 
``Tiger Team'' of up to four dozen personnel to address Green 
Cards which have gone missing or are returned to the agency, 
taking several months to fully investigate the most complex 
cases.\18\ Documents returned to USCIS must be re-processed to 
account for each document, representing dozens of personnel 
hours per case, including determining how to get documents back 
into the hands of their rightful owners.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\Id. at 20-21.
    \19\Id. at 21.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To help individuals impacted by misdelivered documents, 
USCIS must spend resources confirming applicants' documents 
have been either improperly delivered or intercepted before 
they could be retrieved.\20\ The DHS estimates that the cost of 
responding to a typical non-delivery case is $10.85 to 
$14.46.\21\ The total costs for USCIS to respond to missing 
documents nearly doubled between fiscal year (FY) 2013 and 
FY2015, from $780,267 to $1,488,082.\22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\Id.
    \21\Id.
    \22\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The mail delivery problems have been increasing in recent 
years. In FY2013, USCIS received 44,519 cases of applicants 
with missing Green Cards, representing 3 percent of all cards 
issued that year.\23\ By FY2015, this number had more than 
doubled to 92,645 complaints representing 4.5 percent of total 
Green Cards.\24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\Id. at 15.
    \24\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    With the tracking number provided by the SMI, applicants 
can also contact USPS directly when they suspect their 
documents may have been improperly delivered.\25\ In October 
2015, the USPS Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) estimated 
that over an eight month period the USPS received 3,000 
complaints of Green Cards that were missing or stolen despite 
being marked as delivered.\26\ In June 2016, the DHS OIG asked 
the USPS OIG to study 18,000 Green Cards that had been reported 
as missing in the first 4 months of 2016 and found that 95 
percent of the documents were delivered.\27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \25\U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, supra note 1.
    \26\U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. Office of Inspector General, supra 
note 14, at 16.
    \27\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To address the recommendation of both the USCIS Ombudsman 
and the DHS OIG that USCIS mail documents through more secure 
methods, this bill directs USCIS to offer two existing USPS 
delivery services, Hold for Pickup or Signature Confirmation 
for those documents which are currently mailed under the SMI. 
Individuals receiving documents covered by the SMI may elect 
more the secure delivery, provided that they pay for the 
increased cost for the service. After the bill is enacted, if 
the SMI is changed or if USPS no longer offers the Hold for 
Pickup or Signature Confirmation services, USCIS would still 
offer the more secure delivery through the successor programs 
or services, if they exist.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced S. 1208, the 
Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail 
Initiative Act, on May 23, 2017, with Senators David Perdue (R-
GA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered S. 1208 at a business meeting on 
July 26, 2017. The Committee ordered the bill reported 
favorably by voice vote, en bloc, and without amendment. 
Senators present for the vote on the bill were Johnson, 
Portman, Lankford, Daines, McCaskill, Heitkamp, Peters, Hassan 
and Harris. Consistent with Committee Rule 11, the Committee 
reports the bill with a technical amendment by mutual agreement 
of the Chairman and Ranking Member.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE BILL, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    This section designates the short title of the bill as the 
``Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail 
Initiative Act.''

Sec. 2. Definitions

    This section includes definitions of the term ``Hold for 
Pickup service'', ``Signature Confirmation service'', 
``Immigration Examinations Fee Account'', ``Postal Service'', 
and ``Secretary.''

Sec. 3. Offering hold for pickup and signature confirmation services 
        under the Secure Mail Initiative

    This section requires DHS to offer individuals receiving 
documents under the SMI, or any successor program, the option 
of a USPS Hold for Pickup or Signature Confirmation services. 
This section also stipulates how DHS must calculate the fee for 
these services and how to allocate the fee once it is 
collected. This section also states that DHS may contract with 
a private carrier for these services if the carrier can provide 
better service and value than the USPS, and outlines the 
process for severing the contract with the USPS under this 
circumstance.

Sec. 4. Report

    This section requires that DHS submit to Congress a report 
on the implementation of this bill, the fees collected pursuant 
to it, and the number of times these services have been used.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                                September 22, 2017.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1208, the 
Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail 
Initiative Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

S. 1208--Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail 
        Initiative Act

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) in the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mails about 4 million 
documents each year to applicants for immigration services, 
including employment authorization, permanent residence, and 
travel authorization. S. 1208 would require CIS, within one 
year of enactment, to allow applicants to use certain mail 
security services offered by the Postal Service (USPS) when 
they receive mail from CIS. Persons who choose such services 
would pay an additional fee that would be set by CIS and 
intended to recover the full costs associated with providing 
the service, including CIS administrative costs and USPS 
charges for those services.
    Based on an analysis of information from CIS and USPS, CBO 
expects that people who choose to use enhanced mail security 
would have to pay around $3 to $4 per document. That fee would 
cover the difference between the cost for current mail delivery 
and the cost for the enhanced security, plus a small amount for 
CIS administrative costs. Based on information from CIS, CBO 
estimates that at least half of the affected applicants would 
choose to pay the additional fee.
    The Postal Service would earn about $2 more per delivery 
for the enhanced mail security. Thus, CBO estimates that 
enacting the bill would increase net income for the USPS by 
roughly $5 million annually, beginning in fiscal year 2019; CIS 
indicates that it does not expect to implement the bill until 
late in 2018. CBO further estimates that enacting S. 1208 would 
have no significant net effect on direct spending by DHS 
because the department would collect and spend roughly the same 
amounts in future years to process requests for enhanced mail 
security for CIS documents.
    Enacting the bill would affect on-budget direct spending by 
DHS; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that any such effects would be insignificant in each 
year. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues. (USPS cash 
flows are classified as off-budget and thus are not subject to 
pay-as-you-go procedures.)
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1208 would not significantly 
affect net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the 
four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 1208 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    Because S. 1208 would not repeal or amend any provision of 
current law, it would make no changes in existing law within 
the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 of rule XXVI 
of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

                                  [all]