ICE Says It Can’t Find Records On Nearly 400,000 Illegal Immigrants It Should Be Monitoring

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has “no records” of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants it released into the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security agency made its admission in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). TRAC had requested information on 377,980 illegal immigrants in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“ICE has conducted a search of the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) for records responsive to your request and no records responsive to your request were found,” the agency responded to TRAC’s FOIA.

The ICE ATD program is designed to ensure migrant compliance with court orders while avoiding physical detainment. The agency keeps tabs on migrants through GPS tracking, through ankle monitors or cell phones, and mandatory check-ins with case agents. The program was launched in 2004 to free up space in detention centers while migrants wait for their cases to be processed in crowded immigration courts.

“ICE’s response that they could no longer find records on immigrants in [ATD] that they had previously released came as a shock, particularly after they informed us recently that they had been misleading the public for several months by releasing extremely inaccurate ATD data. The agency really needs to come clean. The American public deserves to have accurate data about the ATD program,” TRAC assistant Professor Austin Kocher told the DCNF.

Kocher said in a social media post on Tuesday: “Just days after announcing that the agency had been misleading to the public for months about how many immigrants were on gps ankle monitors, @icegov claims it can’t find records on over 350,000 immigrants in alternatives to detention program.”

Just days after announcing that the agency had been misleading to the public for months about how many immigrants were on gps ankle monitors, @icegov claims it can’t find records on over 350,000 immigrants in alternatives to detention program.https://t.co/UVzYiyklLG pic.twitter.com/mAJKz9UfPw

— Austin Kocher, PhD (@ackocher) December 28, 2022

Earlier this month, ICE issued an apology after it was revealed to have underreported the number of illegal immigrants it has released into the public without electronic surveillance, such as an ankle bracelet, by more than 18,000%.

“Upon further inspection of what participants were provided against what was publicly available online, it became clear there was a data miscalculation. Teams worked quickly to address and reconcile the issue, now updated on ICE.gov. We regret ICE provided erroneous ATD enrollment data and worked to resolve the miscalculation going forward,” an ICE spokesperson told the DCNF.

ICE had reported on its website that 266 illegal migrants had been released from the agency’s custody with no electronic surveillance as of November. At a December 1 event in Washington, D.C., ICE told attendees, which included top agency officials and advocacy group heads, that the number of illegal migrants it had released without electronic surveillance was actually 49,459.

Illegal immigration into the U.S. continues to grow at the southern border. The Department of Homeland Security released data last week showing that last month set a record for the highest number of migrant encounters at the border in the month of November ever. The data showed that 233,740 migrants were apprehended by authorities, roughly 60,000 more than in November 2021.

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