A former U.S. immigration judge claims that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is withholding monthly figures about the number of illegal migrants released into the United States after interacting with border agents. Andrew Arthur, who served as an immigration judge for eight years, indicated that while DHS does keep track of the total count of migrants released post-border agent encounters, this information is being withheld from the public to avoid casting a negative light on the Biden Administration.
Arthur argued that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and OFO (Office of Field Operations) lack of transparency conceals the fact that over 100,000 aliens are released monthly. This information, he argued, is pivotal to understanding the consequences of these migrant releases on communities across the nation.
Drawing a parallel to the “Texas v. Biden” lawsuit concerning the “Remain in Mexico” policy, Arthur highlighted that DHS is capable of providing the public with statistics on the tens of thousands of undocumented entrants who are encountered by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and subsequently released into the U.S. However, the agency has refrained from doing so since the court orders associated with the lawsuit were vacated in August 2022.
U.S. immigration judges, previously referred to as “special inquiry officers,” are employees of the U.S. Department of Justice and report to the Attorney General rather than being part of the federal judiciary.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a self-described non-partisan organization with millions of members, expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and called for releasing all relevant information to the public. They emphasized that, if necessary, congressional action should be taken to ensure such transparency.
Representative Darrell Issa and others have called for more comprehensive reporting to Congress while pointing out that the Biden Administration intentionally minimizes transparency.
Arthur also discussed the data-gathering process, noting that while OFO publishes statistics on the number of encountered aliens placed into removal proceedings, it does not disclose the number of those released or detained, which he argued is a legal impossibility. ICE also releases statistics on the number of migrants transferred to its custody and subsequently released but fails to specify how many of these migrants were initially encountered at the southwest border.
FAIR estimated that over 2.3 million illegal migrants had entered the U.S. in a manner that involved either being released by CBP or evading apprehension. This estimation was based on verifiable data and avoided speculation on unverifiable numbers.
The impact of legal and illegal immigrants released into the U.S. has been a subject of debate, with different viewpoints and studies providing varying perspectives on their criminal involvement.