Truth or Consequences? Biden’s FERM Family Removal Program Goes Limp
The Biden administration’s new Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) system is going nowhere fast. Touted as a tough response to migrant families entering this country illegally, FERM has removed only 80 family units out of the tens of thousands that have crossed the southern border since May, CBS News reports.
FERM was announced on May 11 as an effort to impose “immigration consequences” on parents who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully with their children. But those consequences aren’t stopping anyone
Between May and the end of July, 136,452 parents and children traveling as families were processed by U.S. border agents after crossing the southern border illegally, according to federal data. In July alone, more than 60,000 migrant parents and children entered Border Patrol custody as families — a 92 percent increase over June.
Under the FERM program run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), families that fail “credible fear” interviews are supposed to be deported to their home country within weeks of arrival, unless they successfully appeal.
Disputing the CBS finding, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said 15,000 migrant parents and children had been repatriated. Even that much higher figure amounts to barely 11 percent of the 136,452 migrant parents and children apprehended by Border Patrol agents.
Upon release into the country, FERM requires some heads of household to wear an ankle monitor and comply with a nightly home curfew while officials conduct a preliminary review of the family’s asylum claim. Since May, some 2,600 migrants, including 1,500 heads of household, have been enrolled in the curfew program.
The recent spike in family arrivals along the U.S.-Mexico border has increased pressure on ICE to expand enrollment in the curfew program. After starting with four cities, the agency is extending FERM to 40 cities across the country. Yet there has been no indication that program expansion is resulting in more deportations.
Meantime, DHS is employing additional programs to expedite asylum reviews for families released from U.S. border custody with court notices.
It’s all in service to this administration’s overarching mission. By ditching the Remain in Mexico policy while relying on an ever-growing array of costly and sketchy “alternatives to detention” programs, Biden & Co. keep the lines of migrants moving in a northbound direction.