ICE’s Mission Creeps in the Wrong Direction
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website declares that ICE employees “work hard to protect our country from terrorists, drug traffickers, criminals and other people who try to enter our country illegally. They enforce the laws that keep American citizens safe.”
But in reality detention and deportation numbers have stalled amid unprecedented waves of illegal entries into this country. According to one recent report, ICE lawyers exercising “prosecutorial discretion” tanked 92,000 cases involving removable aliens, costing the government untold millions of dollars. In a stunning admission earlier this year, ICE announced it had lost track of 377,980 illegal aliens enrolled in its costly “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) program.
Effectively stripping “enforcement” from ICE’s title, the Biden administration is spending millions of agency dollars on private contracts to expand social service programs for illegal aliens. Some of these contracts even prohibit electronic tracking of participants.
A new Young Adult Case Management Program (YACMP) purports to serve illegal aliens ages 18 and 19 deemed “non-dangerous, low flight-risk young adults” by offering them a smorgasbord of legal and social services. Perplexingly, YACMP expressly prohibits electronic monitoring of participants’ whereabouts.
Affording illegal aliens wider access to taxpayer-funded programs while providing less supervision doesn’t seem to align with ICE’s mission statement about enforcement. But that is of no concern to the Biden administration.
“The goal is to expand the social services agenda to families now, and eventually to all illegal aliens,” Jon Feere, a former chief of staff at ICE, told the Daily Caller this month.
Ironically, even the National Immigrant Justice Center has complained that “ICE unilaterally and arbitrarily enrolls youth in YACMP if they are facing immigration court proceedings and are not detained.”
Equally ironically, the ICE department overseeing YACMP contractors is the Detention Compliance and Removals division.
The agency’s contract would, by Feere’s lights, “only be justified if it were improving detention compliance and deportations. [But] the goal is to turn ICE, an enforcement agency, into a social services organization.”
As ICE’s sad meltdown continues, it should be no surprise that the agency is budgeting for still fewer migrant detentions in Fiscal Year 2024. This formerly robust law-enforcement operation is literally contracting before our very eyes.