U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security


Lowest Performing Outpost Rises to One of the Best



  • The Detention and Removal Facility at Port Isabel, Texas was the lowest performing of the 12 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processing centers. A workforce of 250 officers oversaw detention, care, and repatriation or incarceration of over 800 illegal immigrants, from nearly every country in the world. 200+ new illegals processed and housed regularly.
  • Non-compliance with American Correction Association Standards:
    Length of detainee stay – beyond set guidelines
    Poor accountability for location of detainees, with two recent escapes
    Severe overcrowding
    Excessive rework due to redundant paperwork and inefficient processes
    Poor security at entry point to facility
    Lack of adequate control of equipment including utensils that could be weaponized
    Delays in granting detainees access to the immigration court
    Corruption among staff, including bribery, sexual misconduct, nepotism
    Inadequately trained supervisors
    Limited use of automation
  • Dedicated staff, but low morale, distrust of  leadership, no empowerment, sense of isolation


  • Conducted structured interviews with randomly selected employees and managers
  • Operation Deep Dive – Embedded with leadership and staff, observed work processes, sat in on leadership and staff meetings, identified communication gaps, disconnects and process failures
  • Conducted Leadership Frameworks workshop for 100% of leadership/management
  • Conducted Grass Roots Innovation (GRI) workshops to engage the front line – 75% of front-line staff participated, identified key problems and developed and implemented tangible solutions


  • Achieved a score of 95% on the subsequent ACA accreditation review
  • Improved out-processing time of detainees by 50%
  • Reduced detainee detention time by 66%
  • Reduced process failures and re-work by 75%
  • Annual savings of $1M due to new processes
  • New leadership put into place
  • Reward and recognition programs implemented
  • Morale and empowerment took hold as workers implemented their own process improvements
  • Supervisors received regular management and technical training
  • Promotion opportunities for supervisors into management positions