Senate and House Still Awaiting Response to their Demand for Missing ICE Data

Members of Congress seek enforcement data for FY 2021 covered up by Biden administration

By Jon Feere on May 23, 2022

The Biden administration’s troubling decision to not publish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s annual “Enforcement and Removal Operations Report” — which the agency has published by December for at least the last decade — remains a significant and unresolved assault on government transparency. Two letters from Capitol Hill — one from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and one written by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and signed by a total of 20 members of the House of Representatives — demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) release the data contained in the missing report. The deadlines included in those letters have since passed; Cruz sought a response by March 5 while the House members requested a response by April 28. Sources tell me that ICE is actively assembling at least some of the data, a sign that the data may be forthcoming. The letters are republished, below.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s decision to hide this critical data on ICE arrests, detention, removals, detainers, and alien criminality, is a strong sign that the policies the Biden administration has put in place to dramatically curtail most immigration enforcement have been devastating for public safety and the nation’s sovereignty. Historically, ICE has proudly published the annual report because it showcases the results of the agency’s hard work during the prior fiscal year. The fact that the Biden administration has not held a press conference to celebrate the outcome of its policies — and is instead being forced by Congress to publish the data — speaks volumes.

The Biden administration’s concerted effort to hide the impact of their controversial policies has become such a scandal that ICE employees felt compelled to leak some of the critical data contained in the report to the media. The article from the Washington Times is important reading. In sum, ICE’s mission has been severely hampered by the Biden administration and thousands of criminal aliens are being allowed to remain in our country. People will be harmed as a result.

More detail about the specific ICE data missing for Fiscal Year 2021 is available here. Data obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies through FOIA requests show a steep decline in enforcement and the findings are available here and here. Finally, an explanation on the Biden administration’s misleading use of “aggravate felon” arrests is available here.

Cruz highlights the lack of transparency in his letter:

The failure to release the FY 2021 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report is unacceptable. It hampers the ability of Congress to accurately conduct oversight of a lawless administration that has simply refused to enforce laws enacted by Congress that it dislikes. The delay raises serious concerns about DHS’s transparency during the worst border crisis this county [sic] has seen in decades.

The timing and continued delay is also suspect. It seems that DHS and ICE are more concerned with avoiding damaging headlines and unflattering news cycles than with carrying out their obligations — that is shameful, and the American people deserve better from their government.

The House letter also points out the Biden administration’s lack of commitment to transparency:

In FY21, DHS saw more illegal migrants cross the southern border than any other year in DHS history, arguably creating a larger toll on DHS and the American people than at any point in history.

Your department has shown to be unfazed by this reality and the lack of transparency from DHS during your time as Secretary has not gone unnoticed.

Below are the two letters from Congress that have, as of this writing, gone unanswered: