Hundreds of Thousands More Aliens Go Missing Under ‘Alternatives to Detention’ While ICE Deportations Plummet
In a stunning admission, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it has “no records” for 377,980 illegal aliens enrolled in its “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) program.
But maybe that’s not such a surprise. Whether it’s bureaucratic bungling or by design, this security lapse is consistent for an agency whose deportation numbers are in free fall.
The latest ATD embarrassment surfaced after Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) filed a Freedom of Information Act request on aliens under ATD supervision from the start of fiscal year 2019 to August 2022.
“ICE’s response that they could no longer find records on [illegal aliens] they had previously released came as a shock, particularly after they informed us recently that they had been misleading the public for several months by releasing extremely inaccurate ATD data,” said TRAC’s Austin Kocher.
Previously, an ICE document indicated that 49,459 aliens who were supposed to be monitored were not. That figure was 18,000 percent higher than the 266 ICE had claimed on its website.
(The faulty, yet costly, ATD program is not just an ICE problem. FAIR reported last year that U.S. Customs and Border Protection “paroled” more than 120,600 illegal aliens via ATD, and that roughly one-third of them disappeared.)
Weak or non-existent tracking of illegal aliens accompanies a dramatic decline in deportations from the U.S. interior.
For fiscal year 2022, ICE said it removed some 28,000 migrants, which is less than 0.2 percent of the 15.5 million illegal aliens present in American communities (FAIR’s estimate as of the end of 2021). Before President Biden assumed office, ICE deportations from the interior were running above 90,000 annually, when far fewer illegal aliens were entering the country.
Though the administration says it is concentrating removal efforts on criminal aliens, ICE deportations of such individuals in fiscal 2022 were 68 percent lower than the 73,000 removed in 2018.
Spinning the numbers, the Department of Homeland Security states that a total of 72,100 illegal aliens were deported in fiscal 2022. But it’s important to note that 61 percent of those – nearly 44,000 – were migrants turned around at the southern border. Those removals were conducted by Customs and Border Protection, not ICE.