The Corner

70 Percent of Illegals Released by ICE Don’t Appear for Follow-up Appointments

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released thousands of illegal-alien families from this summer’s border surge – the large majority of those who were apprehended – with instructions to report to the particular ICE office at their final destination. DHS has repeatedly refused to say how many of them actually show up as directed.

Well, the AP secured a recording of “a confidential meeting at its [ICE’s] Washington headquarters with immigration advocates” where ICE acknowledged that 70 percent of those released “never showed up weeks later for follow-up appointments.”

This should come as no surprise to anyone with a pulse. Yet it appears that Obama-administration officials think the released illegals are like the cowboys in Blazing Saddles, lining up to put a dime in the lone toll booth in the middle of the desert instead of just going around it. (If the Central American illegal aliens were so punctilious about obeying rules, they wouldn’t have snuck into someone else’s country in the first place.)

It’s true that ICE needs more family detention capacity, which is the reason for the planned new detention center south of San Antonio. But DHS has plans for a migration emergency such as we saw this summer, and it never activated it. They won’t say what’s in the plan, but from how Haitian and Cuban outflows were handled at Gitmo, I’d assume tent cities to enable detention of 100 percent of illegals are part of it. Once the politically appointed suits decided not to activate the emergency plan, it was inevitable that most of the illegals would simply be let go, never to be seen again.

No wonder morale among DHS employees is “abysmal.”

And the circumstances of this revelation are also outrageous. We only know this information because of a leaked audio recording (kudos to the whistleblower, whoever it is) from a meeting with anti-enforcement activists undoubtedly whining about how cruel ICE is. Here’s how the article describes the administration’s stonewalling on this question:

The AP reported in June that the administration would not say publicly how many immigrant families from Central America caught crossing into the U.S. it had released in recent months or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed. The AP noted that senior U.S. officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Homeland Security Department and White House, had dodged the answer on at least seven occasions over two weeks, alternately saying that they did not know the figure or didn’t have it immediately at hand.

The Homeland Security Department’s public affairs office during the same period did not answer roughly a dozen requests for the figures.

“Most transparent administration in history,” indeed.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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