Failure by Design: ‘Paroled’ Aliens Disappear Into U.S.
In the first seven months of this fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released more than 120,600 illegal aliens through a parole scheme that circumvents detention requirements. Massive expansion of the little-used program has created a “huge vulnerability,” with roughly one-third of parolees going off the grid.
A new “Parole+ATD” (alternatives to detention) classification relieves migrants from having to provide evidence of credible fear to obtain asylum status. Under ATD, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues these aliens trackable cell phones (or ankle bracelets) to maintain contact with the agency.
But as FAIR reported this month, ATD is hardly foolproof. According to a leaked ICE report, absconsion rates among ATD participants top 80 percent, as illegal aliens cut off the bracelets, delete cell phone applications and go off the electronic leash.
Bootstrapping ATD onto a radically expanded parole program invites a security nightmare. It transforms a system designed to be used on a selective case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” (per the Immigration and Naturalization Act) and throws open the doors for wholesale admissions.
Defending Parole+ATD protocols, an administration official explained that if no contact is made within 12 months of entry, subject alien scofflaws would revert back to the status they had upon arrival, and would be removable.
Andrew Arthur, of the Center for Immigration Studies, countered: “I have no idea who that official is, but he or she is either naïve or lying. The alien is already removable but cannot now be removed until after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) goes through the complex and time-consuming process of finding the alien, obtaining a removal order, locating and picking up the alien again (they likely won’t be detained the next time, either), and removing him or her.”
While Arthur calls Parole+ATD “a misuse and abuse of that immigration authority that borders on malfeasance,” some 40,000 unsupervised migrants are unaccounted for. And per DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ orders, ICE agents aren’t even allowed to go looking for them.
With Parole+ATD lowering the bar for entry, Arthur rates the risks to U.S. communities as “extremely high.” “You can run illegal aliens’ [fingerprints], but are you going to run their criminal record in San Pedro Sula [Honduras]? Are you going to be able to run their activities in Yemen? The vetting is only as good as the intel, and the intel isn’t that good.”
All things considered, the biggest concern is the vicious circle that such a fundamentally flawed program creates. The more people who come in, the more overwhelmed the system becomes, and the more aliens who are released, the more migrants will come.