Thousands of Aliens Released at the Border on the Honor System

DHS data show that around 80% don't report in

By Jon Feere on July 15, 2021

Thousands of illegal aliens with largely unknown backgrounds are being allowed to disappear into the interior of the United States and the Biden administration has no plan to require them to show up to court and no plan to have U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) go after them.

The anti-borders zealots in the Biden administration facilitating this wave of illegal immigration have been allowing foreign nationals from across the world to enter through the southern border without any serious plan for managing the population post-entry. The administration decided not to issue paperwork requiring court appearances — called Notices to Appear, or NTAs for short — to the aliens they have admitted. Instead, the aliens have been told they should show up to an ICE field office (there are 24 around the country) within 60 days of entry and obtain an NTA from an ICE official. Few do.

According to data from ICE in an exclusive report from the Washington Times, only 3,446 aliens have appeared at an ICE field office out of a population of 15,000 to 19,000 that should have. The Biden administration has been very secretive about the precise numbers, but one can safely estimate that only about 18 percent to 23 percent of released aliens have complied with DHS’s instructions. This is a truly disastrous situation for law enforcement and a major threat to public safety and national security. It also suggests that most of the illegal aliens crossing the border do not have valid asylum claims and that the majority have no respect for America’s rule of law.

The excuse for not requiring U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue NTAs at the moment the aliens cross the border is that the process takes too long. Instead, CBP shifted the burden to ICE. But allowing thousands of illegal aliens to disappear in the United States while hoping they show up at an ICE office is not a solid plan. It only adds to the illegal immigrant population at a time when ICE enforcement is being significantly hampered by the White House and Democrats in Congress.

If this plan were working, the same lines we see at the borders would be seen at ICE field offices. That obviously isn’t happening. Predictably, the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens allowed into the country have ignored the Biden administration’s request that they seek out ICE officers.

This process should be considered a deferred inspection, and the punishment for failure to appear for such inspection is apprehension and removal. Every single one of these people will have to be arrested and removed, but the moment ICE officers were to locate any of them — which will be very difficult, if not impossible — the illegal aliens and their lawyers will argue that they tried to show up to an ICE field office but couldn’t for one reason or another.

CBP should be the agency that issues the NTA because CBP officers must decide whether to charge an alien under section 212(a)(7) or (6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), both of which allow for an alien’s removal. Section 212(a)(7) charges actually require a quick removal.

Thus far, the widespread ignoring of the 60-day show-up requirement is not being addressed by the Biden administration, and unless Congress pressures DHS to actually do something, it’s likely every illegal alien will be allowed to live in the United States indefinitely, or at least until supporters of immigration enforcement are running DHS and ICE officers cross paths with one of these people. However, a section of the Biden administration’s dangerously limited enforcement scheme is now very relevant. Under the so-called enforcement “priorities”, ICE officers are allowed to make an arrest where an alien “was apprehended at the border or a port of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States on or after November 1, 2020” or where the alien “was not physically present in the United States before November 1, 2020.” The memorandum dictating ICE’s narrow enforcement reach explains: “To be clear, the border security priority includes any noncitizen who unlawfully entered the United States on or after November 1, 2020.” But it also includes a footnote which notes that asylum provisions in statutory law apply.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified to Congress that “individuals who do not appear are a priority of ours for apprehension in the service of border security.” The question the media must now ask Biden’s DHS is whether ICE officers have been directed to arrest and remove these particular individuals. If ICE officers are not arresting and removing these individuals, it will be clear that the ICE enforcement guidelines are largely meaningless.

By not issuing NTAs at the border, the Biden administration has needlessly — and perhaps intentionally — delayed court proceedings. Had they received court dates at the border, these same individuals likely wouldn’t be showing up for their hearings and courts would be issuing in absentia final orders. That would be a good thing because it would mean ICE officers would have clear legal authority to deport these individuals.

The Biden administration does not appear to be making any effort to get aliens to comply with the 60-day requirement. It’s also worth noting that the NGOs closely aligned with this administration aren’t putting any effort into getting aliens to show up at ICE field offices either.

This outcome was entirely predictable, making it hard not to conclude that this is nothing more than an intentional effort by the Biden administration to flood the United States with more illegal immigration.