Jennie Taer on September 11, 2023
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have the ability to track all illegal immigrants released from their custody into the U.S. interior, partially because of the large numbers coming into the country, an agency inspector general report released Monday found.
Border Patrol can’t and doesn’t always record migrants’ addresses and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) doesn’t always validate the addresses before releasing migrants, according to the report. There were 981,671 migrant records taken by Border Patrol between March 2021 and August 2022, but more than 177,000 migrant records “were either missing, invalid for delivery, or not legitimate residential locations.”
“The volume is so high, that agents merely have time to check to make sure that the address is valid. As well as actually making contact with the so called point of contact via telephone. The numbers are astronomical at this point,” a Border Patrol agent, who requested anonymity as they’re not authorized to speak publicly, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Moreover, 6% of those migrant records, or 54,663, contained no addresses, according to the report.
“ICE must be able to locate migrants to enforce immigration laws, including to arrest or remove individuals who are considered potential threats to national security. The notable percentage of missing, invalid for delivery, or duplicate addresses on file means DHS may not be able to locate migrants following their release into the United States. As the Department continues to apprehend and release tens of thousands of migrants each month, valid post-release addresses are essential,” the report stated.
As a result, DHS faced challenges recording and validating migrant addresses, an action it’s required to do, according to the report. Moreover, Border Patrol didn’t “accurately and effectively capture valid addresses, in part due to the large number of migrants apprehended, as well as its limited coordination with ICE and its limited authority to administer compliance with address requirements.”
Additionally, ICE didn’t have the appropriate resources to confirm the post-release addresses, according to the report.
Another issue is that migrants share addresses with others hoping to get released into the U.S. interior, according to the report, which found that 790,090 of 981,671 recorded addresses appeared at least twice during an 18-month period, some of which were provided by families upon release.
Border Patrol continues to see high levels of illegal immigration, recording more than 1.6 million encounters so far in fiscal year 2023, according to federal data.
“Our immigration system is broken and outdated and Congress needs to fix it. Even under those outdated laws, the Department has improved how noncitizens are processed and vetted. Individuals seeking to come to the United States are screened by DHS and our intelligence and counterterror partners to prevent anyone who poses a threat from entering the country,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to the DCNF.
“The IG ignores legal and operational constraints that make it impossible for the Department to implement its recommendations. The report also excludes several recent DHS improvements to how we track and update noncitizen addresses across agencies,” the spokesperson added.