March 2, 2022
By Tom Homan
Given the debacle that has been taking place on our southern border since last year, there has been growing anticipation for official data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the number of arrests, detentions, and removals in fiscal year 2021. Now that the data has been reported by non-government organizations, it is obvious why the Biden Administration has delayed the official release. The numbers are a scathing indictment of the White House’s failure to secure our border and keep our communities safe.
As the first Acting ICE Director who came up through the ranks and oversaw the creation of the yearly report for nearly a decade, I can say that the failure to release those numbers is part of the same lack of transparency we have witnessed from this administration since the day Joe Biden took the oath of office.
Biden had pledged that his would be the most transparent administration ever. This has proven to be a lie. The administration, particularly Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, has claimed the border is secure and closed. They refused to use the term “crisis” even though illegal crossings were at an historic high. Even this first look at ICE’s FY21 numbers is based on leaked information.
Because of my multi-year oversight of the yearly report, I know that fiscal year data is gathered by mid-October to late October. ICE has had those numbers for three- and one-half months but still has not released them officially. Why?
The answer is that while this administration seeks to covertly gut the mission of ICE and weaken its ability to deport criminal aliens, the data is embarrassing and politically damaging with mid-term elections approaching and Biden’s approval ratings in freefall. If they can survive, they will deem the political damage worth the cost to achieve their goals of a borderless America and a neutered immigration enforcement agency.
The delay may be inexcusable, but the agenda that created the data is unforgiveable. Total deportations were down 70 percent from the previous year. More than half of the deportations in the last fiscal year took place in the final months of the Trump administration. Of the 143,355 illegal aliens who were released into the country, more than 16,000 have convictions or charges for non-immigration related crimes.
If you combine ICE interior releases with Customs and Border Protection’s releases and estimated “got-aways,” at least 828,000 illegal aliens were allowed to enter the U.S. in FY 2021. This is just some of the data that reveals the depth of the problems that we now live with, intentionally created because this administration chose to implement the radical Left’s immigration agenda.
I predicted almost a year ago that this White House would never be able to abolish ICE as an agency, but would instead abolish the ICE mission. The numbers above are the lowest numbers in the history of the Agency. This was not the result of mismanagement or incompetence, but design.
The reprioritization of the ICE mission by the Biden Administration was more smoke and mirrors. They said they wanted ICE to concentrate more on public safety threats. This was ridiculous since over 91 percent of ICE interior arrests in the past five years were criminal arrests. However, anti-borders activists and their allies in the media created hysteria that ICE was “sweeping neighborhoods” and “separating families” to make indiscriminate arrests of those who pose no danger to the public. That was all untrue based on the actual data, but the truth rarely comes out.
The catastrophic results of the Biden Administration on immigration enforcement and public safety in this country deserves a congressional investigation and impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas, who has consistently lied to the American people and betrayed his vow to defend the country. The morale within the Border Patrol and ICE ranks is now non-existent. They are broken. It will take time and strong leadership to repair such catastrophic damage.
The bottom line is that more illegal alien criminals are on the street, and they will continue to be released everyday across this country by jails and prisons because the Biden administration designed it that way. Public safety has suffered under this administration, and it will get worse. We cannot achieve true national security without border security, and we cannot achieve border security without a strong interior enforcement policy.
Tom Homan is a senior fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute and the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Also published at: Tom Homan, Biden Submits His ICE Report Late, Gets an ‘F’, The Washington Times, March 2, 2022.
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