Amid a crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants cross the southern border over the past few months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is aiming to raise the number of migrants allowed to be released into the United States through an alternative to the detention program, Fox News reported exclusively on Friday.
According to Fox News, internal DHS communications that it reportedly analyzed reveal that the department is hashing out plans to streamline the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program. This, according to the outlet, is because raising the number of migrants enrolled in the program is becoming a priority for the DHS.
MORE ON THE BORDER: Whistleblower DHS official speaks out about the border crisis
The ATD program, which began in 2004, involves varying degrees of supervision for undocumented immigrants who are going through immigration proceedings. According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, ATD can include methods ranging from GPS monitoring to office and home visits, depending on the immigrant and their background, criminal history, plus other factors.
“The Biden administration has made it clear that the border is not open,” a DHS spokesperson reportedly told Fox News. “Our policy is to expel single adults and families. In situations where individuals cannot be expelled, they are placed into removal proceedings and a custody determination is made, which could result in an Alternative to Detention program.”
According to the news outlet, the communications it reportedly analyzed suggest that the DHS will be participating in discussions with ICE to formulate plans for what will be required. Although, Fox News noted that migrants have recently been released without Notices to Appear in court, just notices to appear at their local ICE offices.
Amid the surge of migrants, which broke records last month, the Biden administration has been struggling to process and hold the migrants in custody. This has led to overcrowded conditions at migrant detention facilities, worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, and overall poor accommodations for detainees—especially unaccompanied children. There have even been reports of sexual abuse toward child detainees.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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DHS Secretary Mayorkas Says We Cannot Remove ‘11 Million Undocumented Individuals’ Unlawfully in U.S.
Troubling details were unearthed during the questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by the Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley asked Mayorkas about a DHS memo from September 30 which reads: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”
“Does that reasoning apply to the [1.2] million illegal immigrants who have received due process and been given a final order of removal by an immigration judge?” Grassley asked Mayorkas.
“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals, nor can we remove more than 11 million undocumented individuals, individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States, who might not have final orders of removal” Mayorkas answered.
Mayorkas also stated that he had issued the due process policy after drawing on “tremendous experience not only as a member of the Department of Homeland Security but as a federal prosecutor.”
Grassley pressed Mayorkas, asking, “should any of them be removed?”
“Of course,” Mayorkas said. “I do believe that individuals who pose a public safety threat, who pose a national security threat, who pose a border security threat, should be removed, and we should be smart and effective in our use of resources, and we should focus on the well-being of our communities and prioritize individuals for removal.”
In his opening statements, Grassley addressed Mayorkas and stated, “When you allow the ACLU and open-borders immigration activists rather than career law enforcement professionals to dictate the terms of your immigration and border policies, then you shouldn’t be surprised when record-shattering numbers of people start showing up at the border to take advantage of that.”
Grassley continued, “When you run DHS like it’s an ‘Abolish ICE’ fan club, you shouldn’t be surprised when you have an illegal immigration crisis on your hands.”
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