Terror alert? ICE apparently “loses” records of 378,000 detainees in illegal immigration program


The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer, a retired Police Chief and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

WASHINGTON, DC- Well, this is rather disturbing. The Epoch Times is reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are apparently having some difficulty locating any records of illegal aliens placed in a key federal program numbering 378,000.

The program is designed to “ensure non-detained non-citizen compliance with release conditions, court hearings and final orders of removal, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonprofit government transparence advocacy group.

“ICE has conducted a search of the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) for records responsive to your request and no records responsive to your request were found” the Department of Homeland Security, run by the feckless Alejandro Mayorkas told the organization in a Dec. 22 letter.

The letter comes at a time when the border is facing an unprecedented surge of illegal aliens crossing the border into the United States as “Invasion USA,” encouraged by the Biden administration, continues unabated.

The ICE letter attempted to throw cover, noting that simply because the records sought by TRAC were unable to be located didn’t necessarily mean that they don’t exist. In a Dec. 23 statement, TRAC, which is affiliated with Syracuse University, described ICE’s apparent incompetence as a “very troubling development.”

The ICE letter came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (the only way information can be obtained from the Biden administration apparently) from TRAC seeking “the latest alien-by-alien, anonymous data covering all individuals who were taken into custody by ICE and entered (or transferred to) ICE ATD custody from the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019 through August 2022 (or date of search, whichever [is] later).”

The ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, the organization says, “allows for closer monitoring of non-detained citizens at varying levels of supervision, using several different monitoring technologies. ATD effectively increases court appearance rates, compliance with release conditions, and helps the participants meet basic needs and understand immigration obligations.”

Except when they can’t find the records, apparently.

According to the program, individuals who fail to report “are subject to arrest and potential removal. To be eligible for ATD, noncitizens must be 18 years of age or older, effectively removable from the United States, and in some stage of the immigration process,” according to ICE.

“According to ICE’s posted numbers, persons being monitored by its Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program grew by 20,000 in just the last two weeks to a total of 377,980 individuals,” TRAC said in its statement.

“However TRAC is still urging caution in interpreting these latest numbers. As we announced earlier, ICE has informed TRAC that Alternatives to Detention (ATD) data the agency posted previously was inaccurate. TRAC has requested but not yet received underlying source documents from ICE. Thus, it has not yet been able to validate and correct the ICE ATD data being posted.”

The Epoch Times noted they requested comment from ICE regarding the information provided to TRAC< that the agency was unable to locate data despite the fact the Biden administration publicly says the information they are providing is accurate.

The accuracy of DHS’s immigration data comes as the US is in the midst of a third consecutive year of unprecedented numbers of illegals invading the country at the southern border with Mexico, an invasion which the Biden administration and Mayorkas has not only ignored, but have in fact encouraged, along with most Democrat lawmakers.

Since Biden assumed office on January 20, 2021, some two million illegal aliens are known to have entered the United States. That number does not include what is believed to be hundreds of thousands of “gotaways” who are pursued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers but are not captured.

While the border invasion had been mostly mitigated under former President Donald Trump, it has surged under Biden, whose version of governance is to merely overturn anything done by Trump, good or bad.

For example, the Trump administration implemented a program known as “Remain in Mexico,” where asylum seekers were required to remain in Mexico while they awaited the disposition of their asylum requests and other legal issues.

Earlier in December, TRAC reported that “the data ICE has been posting for months showed that use of GPS ankle monitors had been increasing, which TRAC previously reported.

ICE now reports that is incorrect, that ankle monitor usage is in fact, down significantly. Adding to the confusion, ICE frequently posts data, replaces it, and replaces it again without any indication that changes have taken place, or which set are the ‘correct’ numbers.”

However, TRAC reports the issues they have found with data provided by ICE is more extensive than the flaws in their ankle monitor reporting.

“ICE data reporting problems extend beyond the GPS ankle monitor usage. ICE’s new data for FY2022 significantly revised the previous numbers for every single one of the ATD reported technologies—not only GPS but also SmartLINK, and VoiceID, as well. Not only did the use of GPS monitors drop, but the public now learned that 1 in 9 (11 percent) were not being monitored with the use of any technology at all!”

This is yet another example of “the grownups” being in charge, as breathlessly reported by the media after Biden “won” the election.

TRAC co-founder Susan Long told The Epoch Times ICE’s response to the FOIA requests showed “a really straightforward example of a lack of transparency and compliance with the disclosure requirements” of the Act.

“To say there are no records, this is classic ICE. They have in the past after long delays and redactions released some updated data, but it is not uncommon to get this kind of response. Clearly, the data exists, their contracts require the information be kept, and that ICE have access to it,” Long said.

“The question comes, what do you believe, and so part of our role is to get the underlying data to check it out. If we can’t get the underlying data, I mean we aren’t talking about something that is national defense secrets,” Long continued.

Long said ICE officials were “very embarrassed” about the inability to verify underling data for immigration records.  She said this was because “their data was showing that the use of these ankle monitors, GPS monitors, were increasing when that was exactly the opposite of what the head of the agency was saying.”

She said she is, however, confident in the credibility of the underlying data behind the numbers published by the agency.

“But if you look at the posted data at some of the links we’ve published is just unbelievably bad,” Long said.

She also noted that the only reason ICE publishes its data on immigration programs, including ATD is because they are forced to by a congressional mandate.

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