The Biden administration’s return to the horrendous catch-and-release policy has set a precedent for defying orders. Although, that shouldn’t come as surprise as a lack of immigration enforcement and depending on law breakers to adhere to an honor system is a bad gamble, one that the Biden administration took intentionally to further undermine immigration law and order.
After a record surge of illegal crossings this year, many migrants are now being released without court dates, otherwise known as a Notice to Appear (NTA). Usually, asylum seekers and other categories of migrants who were found to be in the country illegally are issued an NTA before being released from custody. If the alien does not appear in court, a judge issues an in-absentia order of removal, which means they can be quickly deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if encountered.
In its place, under the Biden administration’s guidance, thousands of illegal aliens are being released without NTAs and given instruction to report to an ICE office within 60 days to collect an NTA. Of course, very few migrants are complying. Instead, thousands are defying their first orders and becoming fugitives. As a result, the no-show rate is more than 75 percent.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) claims such action violates immigration law, claiming “this is fatuous and an abdication of your statutory obligation.”
Jon Feere, former ICE chief of staff during the Trump administration, said, “This outcome was entirely predictable, making it hard not to conclude that this is nothing more than an intentional effort by the Biden administration to flood the United States with more illegal immigration.”
While the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website states that nearly 79,000 illegal crossers were caught and released into the interior of the country between March and May, the exact number released without notices to appear has not been publicly announced by the government.
However, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), said in mid-April that 15,300 migrants had been released without notices to appear. In early May, a Washington Times source said that the number was 18,000. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said on May 13 that he had been told 19,000.
According to an exclusive report by Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times, only 3,446 migrants have showed up for their court dates, making the compliance rate less than 25 percent. When using Sen. Lankford’s number of 19,000, that rate drops to 18 percent.
Sen. Lankford said in a statement to The Washington Times, “Secretary Mayorkas assured me that of the 19,000+ individuals in our country illegally, ICE is seeing a ‘high rate’ of illegal individuals turn themselves in to get a court date. However, the numbers show that 85 to 90 percent of those migrants are not even requesting a court date. They are simply disappearing into the interior of our country. This policy ignores the obvious problems and sets up our nation for even more illegal immigration.”
Mayorkas testified before Congress that “individuals who do not appear are a priority of ours for apprehension in the service of border security.” It is unclear whether ICE officers have been instructed to arrest and remove these aliens. What is clear however, is that the Biden administration is making no effort to get aliens to comply with the 60-day requirement nor taking any action to mitigate no-shows by those who have been released.