Homeland Security doesn’t know court locations for 40,000 illegal immigrants, senator reveals

"DHS’s failure to provide the requested information is alarming because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) serves as the prosecutor in removal proceedings," said the Wisconsin Republican senator.

Updated: February 3, 2022 - 11:46pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is demanding answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the agency admitted it is unsure of the court locations for more than 40,000 illegal immigrants who have recieved notices to appear.

"DHS is apparently unaware of the court locations for roughly 80% of aliens that received a notice to appear (NTA) after receiving a notice to report (NTR) between March 21, 2021 and December 5, 2021," Johnson wrote to David Neal, director of DHS's Executive Office of Immigration Review, in a letter released Thursday.

The Biden administration created the Notice to Report system in March 2021 to allow illegal immigrants to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and continue processing. CBS News notes that while a notice to appear takes an hour to an hour and a half to prepare, an NTR can be issued in 10 minutes. An NTR does not put illegal aliens in removal proceedings, unlike an NTA.

"Of the 50,683 aliens that were issued NTAs pursuant to an NTR between March 21, 2021 and December 5, 2021, DHS listed 40,348 of the court locations as 'unknown' or 'pending,'" he stated. 

Johnson, who has focused heavily on immigration during his time on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, "DHS's failure to provide the requested information is alarming because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) serves as the prosecutor in removal proceedings."

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas responded in January to an inquiry Johnson made in October. His letter contained several alarming statistics.

For example, DHS data shows that from March 21, 2021, to Aug. 31, 2021, more than 100,000 illegal aliens were released with an NTR, but more than 47,000 of them did not report to ICE as required within 60 days.

Of the nearly 50,000 who did check in with ICE during that time frame, less than 16,300 received NTAs. Johnson wants to know if those who did not receive the notice are in deportation proceedings.

Johnson asked Neal to provide "the average length of time it takes to adjudicate an immigration case upon receipt of an NTA" when an illegal immigrant is detained versus at large.

He also wants to know "how many aliens had their parole rescinded" in 2021, and of those who have had parole rescinded, how many are in the process of being removed.

Finally, Johnson requested locations for court proceedings in cases previously stated as "pending" or "unknown."

Illegal immigration has increased dramatically under the Biden administration.

Customs and Border Protection had a record number of 178,840 illegal encounters in December, Just the News reported.

Mayorkas reportedly admitted during a meeting with Border Patrol agents in January that the situation at the border is "worse now than it, frankly, has been in at least 20 years, if not ever." 

He also said, "I know the policies of this administration are not particularly popular with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but that's the reality and let's see what we can do within that framework," according to meeting audio obtained by Townhall.

Sen. Johnson led a GOP press conference on Wednesday about what he says are "the policy failures of the Biden administration at the southern border."

The senator criticized the Biden administration for changing migrant "apprehensions" to "encounters." He stated that "over 1.2 million people are in this country, undocumented illegally."

"Quite honestly, we really don't know where they are, 1.2 million people," Johnson said. "Put that in perspective, that's a number that is larger than the population of eight states."

Just the News Spotlight