Biden’s DHS Seems to Have Misled Federal Court About the Development of ICE Enforcement Policies

Pro-borders groups named in filings deny having been consulted

By Jon Feere on December 7, 2021

A new article from the Washington Times (“EXCLUSIVE: DHS embellished record to justify new limits on deportations”) investigates the Biden administration’s claim that it met with subject matter experts, sheriffs, ICE officers, and victims’ rights groups when drafting the anti-enforcement guidelines now used by ICE. The two documents that the Biden administration filed with the court overseeing litigation on its enforcement-limiting guidelines are embedded below.

According to the documents, subject matter experts at ICE and USCIS requested that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas allow for a more expansive immigration enforcement policy. Experts within the USCIS fraud division naturally want immigration fraud to be a priority and ICE field office directors argued “for the ability to arrest and remove a wider range” of illegal aliens. These career officials all understand that giving most illegal aliens a pass is going to encourage more illegal immigration. These concerns were completely dismissed by Biden’s political appointees.

The documents show that Mayorkas met with many anti-borders, anti-enforcement organizations and his ICE enforcement guidelines reflect that. It’s difficult to see any influence from law enforcement or advocates of public safety. Most of the groups the Biden administration listed as part of their outreach efforts are not fans of immigration enforcement: the ACLU, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the American Immigration Council, the American Constitution Society, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Public Defender Coalition for Immigrant Justice, and Asian-Americans Advancing Justice, to name a few.

The DHS documents indicate that the Biden administration met with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as they were drafting their ICE enforcement guidelines, but there’s no information from DHS or MADD about their discussion. Does MADD think it’s a good thing that the Biden administration is no longer allowing ICE officers to arrest and deport drunk-driving illegal aliens the way ICE once did? There were over 130,000 DUI charges and convictions on the criminal records of illegal aliens arrested by ICE in fiscal years 2019 and 2020. All evidence indicates that number will be much lower under the Biden administration’s policies. Will MADD have anything to say about the Biden administration’s decision to keep more drunk drivers in our communities? Will any reporter ask MADD for their thoughts? The organization rightly blasted New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017 when he said illegal aliens shouldn’t be deported after being arrested for the “very minor offense” of drunk driving.

The ICE Union did not have an opportunity to provide any input on the Biden administration’s narrow enforcement guidelines. Union President Chris Crane told the Washington Times, “We’re not aware of any officer in the field that supports these policies that they’ve put forth. We don’t think anyone really had the opportunity to provide input to these specific changes. That would typically be something the National ICE Council would do, and that certainly didn’t happen here.”

Biden's DHS told the courts they conducted outreach with Advocates for Illegal Alien Crime (AVIAC), which is run by, and speaks for, families victimized by porous borders, in developing the narrow enforcement guidelines. It turns out that is not true. AVIAC President Don Rosenberg told the Washington Times, “Did they ever contact us and say, ‘We want to talk to you about our policy and how we’re going to do this?’ Absolutely, 100% no.”

Biden’s DHS told the courts they met with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) to discuss the narrow enforcement guidelines, but NSA President Jonathan Thompson told the Washington Times, “Clearly, some appointee went too far with their justification of outreach. We had no outreach, we had no discussions, no give and take, no input into the enforcement priorities.”

Clint McDonald, executive director of the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition, similarly told the Washington Times that although his organization was also listed in the court documents, no discussion of the Biden administration’s narrow immigration enforcement priorities occurred.

Washington Times reporter Stephen Dinan writes that his paper “asked Homeland Security about the disparities, but the department didn’t respond to the follow-up inquiry.”

DHS is being run by people who fundamentally do not support the department’s congressionally mandated mission, and that is a serious problem for our democracy. Congress has given the executive branch a lot of leeway in how it carries out immigration enforcement, but the Biden administration’s extremely limiting policies suggest that Congress may have to mandate an annual minimum number of arrests and removals if our laws are to mean anything. Not surprisingly, sheriffs recommended exactly this type of standard, according to the DHS documents.

The documents also show that the Biden administration has made enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws less efficient. They’ve made the process slower, made it easier for illegal aliens to get away with their lawbreaking, and have sent the message to officers that their decisions are going to be reversed in favor of foreigners who believe they are above the law. Specifically, the document explains that if an ICE officer seeks to arrest an illegal alien who does not fall into the Biden administration’s narrow enforcement priorities, the office must make a request to their Field Office Director and that it “typically takes 1 hour and 9 minutes” for an authorization to go through. Without such arbitrary and limiting policies, ICE officers do not have to spend hours of time dealing with requests for approvals. Naturally, officers are not going to make many requests for cases that they assume will never be approved. This has a widespread impact on enforcement, and that’s the point.

Even under the best of circumstances, the arrest and removal process requires a lot of effort and a lot of paperwork. The Biden administration has intentionally made the bureaucracy more burdensome so that officers won’t be able to process as many illegal aliens for removal. There’s only so much time an officer has in a day, and DHS knows this.

New data from ICE obtained by Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies shows that deportation numbers have collapsed to the lowest level since the mid-1990s. The exclusive research shows that while the pandemic had a significant impact on ICE operations in 2020, the Biden administration has only encouraged a further drop in enforcement.

Furthermore, the report clearly illustrates that the Biden administration’s rationale for its new immigration enforcement polices — namely, an increase in deportations of violent criminal aliens — is not actually occurring. It turns out that during the first five months of the Biden administration, only 6,000 illegal aliens convicted of “serious crimes” were deported, while during the same period the previous year under the Trump administration (at the height of the pandemic), over 13,000 such aliens were deported. During the same period, pre-pandemic, over 17,500 illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes were deported.

Read the full report, here.

Below are the two court documents from the Biden administration’s DHS: