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Ron Johnson Calls On DHS to Reveal Number of Illegal Immigrants Released into U.S.

Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., February 9, 2021. (Ting Shen/Pool/Reuters)

Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security share with Congress any internal administration communications related to its decision to release hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants into the U.S., according to a new report.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Johnson asked the agency to reveal the exact number of illegal immigrants who have been allowed into the U.S. with a notice to appear before an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, as well as the number of illegal immigrants who have been transported to cities across the U.S. after being apprehended at the border.

“ICE might not be properly assessing these illegal aliens before releasing them into the interior of the U.S.,” the letter reads. “If true, ICE’s reported actions could threaten the safety and security of all Americans.”

Johnson writes that DHS previously informed him that at least 500,000 illegal immigrants had been released into the U.S. and that the agency had recorded another 344,000 “known-got aways” — those who avoided apprehension and are likely in the country illegally.

“These numbers, which may be even higher, underscore this administration’s failure to enact policies to secure the border and has created an unprecedented migration crisis,” the senator wrote.

The letter comes as data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Friday that Border Patrol agents detained about 1.66 million illegal immigrants at the southern border for the fiscal year ending in September, the highest level ever recorded in a fiscal year. The previous high of 1.64 million detentions was recorded in 2000.

Earlier this month, Fox News reported that the Biden administration had released more than 70,000 illegal immigrants into the U.S. since August 6, including 31,977 released via parole, which grants migrants a form of legal status and the ability to apply for work permits. The figures came from Border Patrol documents obtained by outlet, which show that at least 160,000 illegal immigrants have been released into the U.S. since March.

Parole authority is intended to be applied on an as-needed basis for “urgent humanitarian purposes” and “significant public benefit.” Officials usually grant few parole cases, though the Biden administration has stepped outside of the norm in granting parole to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants.

The report added that at least 94,570 illegal immigrants have been released into the U.S. with Notices to Report since March 20. The notice requires the migrants to check in with an ICE office upon arrival at their final destination. Individuals who check in as required do not face deportation or detainment as their immigration proceedings advance.

Johnson wrote that the administration “is not just releasing illegal aliens into border towns after CBP processing, but rather transporting illegal aliens from the border to cities within the interior of the United States.”

Earlier this month, DHS told the senator’s office that CBP has processed and released 273,000 migrants with a notice to report this year. The agency told Johnson that ICE had processed another 124,000 immigrants and gave them similar notices. Meanwhile, another 31,000 immigrants were processed under “other outcomes” and transferred to departments other than ICE, including the U.S. Marshalls Service and state and local law enforcement. 

Johnson demanded that DHS provide his office with information on how many illegal immigrants have been released into the U.S. by November 2 and requests that it update his office every month after. He asked for exact figures related to the number of illegal immigrants who were released with a notice to appear, a notice to report, or via parole.

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