Federal immigration officials don't know the whereabouts of potentially hundreds of thousands of migrants who came across the southern border last year, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.
The report reveals that between March and June 2021, when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents encountered more than 720,000 migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, agents failed to record the U.S. addresses of approximately one-third of illegal immigrants.
Many of those who entered the country at the southern border failed to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after their release, according to the DHS report. All migrants who are not immediately deported are required to check in at an ICE office within 60 days of their release, but the report shows that about 30% of migrants released into the U.S. between March and September 2021 "did not comply with release terms."
Those who did not provide a U.S. address and schedule an asylum court date are practically untraceable.
The report comes amid bipartisan criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the southern border situation.
Thus far in the 2022 fiscal year, CBP agents have encountered a record 1,746,119 migrants at the nation's shared border with Mexico. The previous record was set during the 2021 fiscal year, when there were 1,734,686 encounters at the border.
Soon after the migrant surge began last year, the federal immigration system began to show signs of stress.
According to the report, agents began to use "ad hoc methods," such as whiteboards to track migrant whereabouts, to handle the overwhelming influx, with little success.
The system's failure to record information for a large number of illegal immigrants stymied its ability to carry out important functions, like keeping families with young children together.
"DHS's IT systems did not effectively allow CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to track migrants from apprehension to release or transfer," the report said. "These deficiencies can delay DHS from uniting children with families and sponsors and cause migrants to remain in DHS custody beyond legal time limits."
Federal immigration authorities have released up to hundreds of thousands of migrants into the United States without court dates, under President Joe Biden.
According to a report from Axios, from March to mid-July 2021, approximately 50,000 illegal immigrants were set free in the U.S. without a scheduled court date.
Lacking a court date, migrants are subject to deportation, however, the Biden administration has drastically cut back on deportation as a method of enforcing immigration law.
In the 2021 fiscal year, ICE deported just 58,000 migrants, which is the lowest number in recent history, according to the Free Beacon. Even former President Barack Obama, in whose administration Biden served as vice president, deported hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants each year.
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