Track, Detain, and Deport to Deal with Biden’s Border Disaster


May 28, 2023

By Tom Homan

There are over five million illegal immigrants on ICE’s non-detained docket, most of whom face years of court proceedings before a judge determines their immigration fate.

This number will continue to balloon after the Biden administration ended the use of Title 42 deportations on May 11, a COVID-era policy that allowed the U.S. to immediately expel millions of illegal aliens as a threat to public health.

In the run up to the end of the policy this month, daily border encounters soared to historic heights, with over 10,000 per day. On May 11, Border Patrol paroled 6,000 migrants to the streets of the United States with no court date even provided, simply relying on the honor system in the hopes these individuals would proactively check in with ICE at some point in the future. This policy of mass parole has since been put on temporary hold by a Florida judge.

This is open borders policy, any way you look at it. While this is occurring, ICE detention beds, already funded by the taxpayer, still sit empty, to the tune of 10,000 or more. Equally as bad, ICE could be tracking illegal aliens with GPS monitoring, but for some reason is refusing to do so on the necessary scale to deal with the migration surge promoted by Biden’s poor policy decisions.

Ask yourself, why didn’t ICE track the 6,000 migrants released to the streets on May 11? There were even reports of known Venezuelan gang members released to the streets of El Paso. Why weren’t they prioritized for detention and deportation? Secretary Mayorkas continues to lie to the public, stating that there will be swift removal of unlawful entrants. Yet, we know this is just another false promise, disguised to make the public think this administration is actually enforcing our immigration laws.

Just look at the Department of Homeland Security’s 2024 budget justification. As FAIR outlined (emphasis in original):

The budget reveals that there are 5.3 million people on the “non-detained docket,” typically aliens who are in the country illegally, released into the interior, and waiting for a court hearing.  Of those 5.3 million, a stunning 407,000 are convicted criminal aliens. Nevertheless, Biden’s budget only provides enough funding to remove a mere 7 percent of these criminals (a total of 29,389, compared to 150,000 criminal alien removals on average under the Trump Administration).

According to the ICE annual report for FY2022, more than 1.2 million illegal migrants on the non-detained docket had received a final order of removal, yet were not in fact removed. Even the Washington Post gave Mayorkas three Pinocchio’s, finding his claims of swift removal to be false. As they noted last year, “Indeed, more than 1 million people who entered the country without proper documents have been given deportation orders — and still have not left. Others have disappeared — a problem that may have gotten worse as tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants are released in the country each month.”

With the backlog of illegal aliens released across the country growing, we cannot detain and deport millions of migrants at any given moment, even if we had an administration willing to fund adequate ICE detention beds, so we should at least be aware of the whereabouts of illegal immigrants so they don’t abscond, never to be seen again.

The Biden administration is blaming Congress for not providing enough tools, saying agencies must work with the tools they already have at their disposal. But the fact is that migrants aren’t being electronically tracked at necessary levels as they are released into the country, despite available technology to do so, and ICE detention beds still go unused.

So, in the face of this Biden-induced reality, what can be done? First, Title 8 should be used expeditiously to expel migrants found not lawful to be in the country. Second, ICE should detain and deport all aliens with final orders of removal, as well as those flagged for expedited removal. Third, for those not in ICE detention, including the millions on the non-detained docket, we should at least be tracking them with GPS so they don’t abscond. The ICE program that offers this is called the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, and it employs GPS capabilities through monitoring devices like ankle bracelets and wrist trackers, as well as GPS-enabled apps.

For those who don’t show up to court proceedings and refuse to comply with the terms of their release, ICE should enforce penalties accordingly, but ISAP has a 98 percent success rate when migrants are kept on the technology throughout their legal proceedings. If it works, let’s use it.

The Biden administration, progressive members of Congress, and abolish-ICE groups vehemently oppose detention usage and call electronic monitoring “digital prisons.” They want to stand up social services paid by the taxpayer to assist illegal immigrants as they arrive, with zero repercussions for those entering this country illegally who don’t show up to court hearings, as set forth by our Congressionally-established immigration laws.

We are a sovereign nation, and we need to act like it again. Secretary Mayorkas claims “our borders are not open.” It’s past time we start acting like it.

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 Breitbart, May 27, 2023.

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