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Jack Davis, The Western Journal


NextImg:'Skeptical' Federal Judge Admonishes Biden DHS Over Failure to Properly Track Illegal Aliens

A federal judge on Tuesday said he doubts that the Department of Homeland Security is serious about tracking illegal immigrants allowed to go where they please under the Biden administration’s catch-and-release policy.

In May, U.S. District Judge Kent Wetherell of Florida’s Northern District slapped a temporary restraining order on the Biden administration seeking to block the release of illegal immigrants through the parole with conditions program.

This week, he learned that DHS, through Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has no idea where many illegal immigrants from one group of 2,572 illegal immigrants are currently living.

“The Court is skeptical that DHS is serious about tracking down the aliens who did not check in as directed or that it will take any action against them if it ever finds them,” Wetherell wrote in a two-page filing on Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner.

According to the Washington Times, data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed the agency did not deliver court summonses to more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants in the catch-and-release program.

Illegal immigrants in the program were sent where they wished to go on “parole” with the condition that they check in with ICE in 60 days.  According to data given to Wetherell, 41.4 percent of the migrants never did so.

In short, only 464 illegal immigrants were given notices to appear, meaning the policy succeeded 18 percent of the time.

Wetherell’s earlier order halted the policy in question, according to the Times, but he said he would not push the issue, saying his order was too ambiguous.

“These statistics are troubling to say the least. But even more troubling is the fact that DHS apparently does not have a plan in place to track down the aliens who are in violation of the conditions of their ‘parole’ — and, thus, unlawfully in the country,” Wetherell wrote, according to the Examiner.

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Wetherell does not have the power to order DHS to find the illegal immigrants, but he is demanding a report on what DHS knows about them. The report is due Aug. 18.

“All the Court can do at this point is require DHS to continue to provide updated information on those aliens — for whatever that is worth to those who are responsible for overseeing DHS and holding its policymakers accountable for their acts and omissions,” he wrote.

Wetherell said those who are beyond the reach of DHS in this small population are “only the tip of the iceberg,” according to the Times.

ICE said that “limited agency resources” were to blame for the low success rate in contacting illegal immigrants.

Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge estimated that more than 2 million illegal immigrants have been set free in the country under the policy.

“This was one situation in which DHS should have done everything to get it right, and even then they’re not. It’s a limited population of people with significant judicial interest that they knew they were going to have to answer for, and even then their efforts are extremely wanting,” he said.

“This underscores the Biden administration’s disregard for the laws Congress has written,” he said.

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A House report condemning DHS for its border policy quoted Wetherell’s prior ruling against DHS and its catch-and-release policy.

“[T]he evidence establishes that [the Biden administration] have effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country by prioritizing ‘alternatives to detention’ over actual detention and by releasing more than a million aliens into the country—on ‘parole’ or pursuant to the exercise of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ under a wholly inapplicable statute— without even initiating removal proceedings,” the report quoted him as ruling.

“Although DHS says it is screening arriving aliens released on Parole+ATD to determine if they are a public safety threat, the more persuasive evidence establishes that DHS cannot reliably make that determination. Indeed, according to Defendants own witnesses, DHS has no way to determine if an alien has a criminal history in his home country unless that country reports the information to the U.S. government or the alien self-reports. Therefore, DHS is mainly only screening aliens at the border to determine if they have previously committed a crime in the United States, and because many of these aliens are coming to the United States for the first time, DHS has no idea whether they have criminal histories or not,” the report quoted him as saying.

The House report summed up its view of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas this way: “The overwhelming body of evidence points to only one reasonable conclusion—Mayorkas has been derelict in his duty. Mayorkas has ignored, abused, or failed to enforce nearly a dozen laws passed by Congress. Time after time, where the law unequivocally prohibits or requires certain actions by the secretary, Mayorkas has done the exact opposite.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.