WASHINGTON––U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Tae Johnson expressing concern over the dangers of President Biden’s continued implementation of catch and release policies in response to the border crisis. In particular, the concerns focus on how the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program is failing to accomplish its stated goals.
“Under the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, ICE releases apprehended illegal immigrants into the United States with some type of temporary monitoring in the hopes that they will show up for their immigration court hearing and then depart if they are ordered to do so,” the senators wrote. “In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that ATD is failing to keep track of illegal immigrants ICE is supposedly monitoring. By ICE’s own calculations, 33 percent of the illegal immigrants unenrolled from ATD in FY2020 were unenrolled because they absconded and could not be found. GAO calculates that, overall, 9 percent of all illegal immigrants enrolled in ATD in FY2020 ultimately could not be found.”
The senators continued, “While these numbers sound bad enough, we are concerned that these calculations fail to truly capture the extent to which ATD is ineffective in ensuring that illegal immigrants actually show up for their immigration court hearings. The GAO report finds that over 75% of all ATD participants were unenrolled before the conclusion of their immigration proceedings. We find it troubling that so many illegal immigrants are unenrolled before the conclusion of their immigration court proceedings, despite the fact that the goal of the ATD program is to ensure that illegal immigrants complete their immigration proceedings.”
“Instead of doing more to stop illegal immigration at our southern border, the Biden administration has instead chosen to spread its failures to more cities. Recent reporting indicates that the Department of Homeland Security is considering plans to transport illegal immigrants from the border to cities further and further within the interior,” the senators concluded.
In addition to Boozman, Tillis and Grassley, Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) also signed onto the letter.
Read the full letter here.