Internal DHS report details major immigration system failures

Since the report's target period, the number of migrants crossing the southern border has continued to climb

Published: July 20, 2022 5:08pm

Updated: July 20, 2022 7:01pm

U.S. Customs and Border Protection failed to record American addresses for hundreds of thousands of border crossers amid a slew of other failures, according to a Department of Homeland Security report.

Between March and June of 2021, border agents encountered more than 720,000 migrants along the U.S. border with Mexico, according to the Washington Free Beacon, which obtained the internal report.

Of those, CBP only recorded the intended U.S. addresses of the migrants 65% of the time, per the report, meaning roughly 252,000 migrants entered the U.S. and moved to unknown locations in a three-month time frame.

Moreover, "approximately 30 percent of migrants did not comply with release terms to report to ICE within 60 days between March and September 2021," the report said. Applying that figure to the total crossings from March though June 2021 shows that more than 200,000 migrants crossed the border, entered the custody of immigration officials, were released into the U.S. interior, and remained without government supervision or monitoring.

The report also found logistical and technical shortcomings prevented Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, as well as those in other immigration agencies, from performing their duties effectively.

"DHS’s IT systems did not effectively allow CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to track migrants from apprehension to release or transfer," it said. "These deficiencies can delay DHS from uniting children with families and sponsors and cause migrants to remain in DHS custody beyond legal time limits."

Since the report's target period, the number of migrants crossing the southern border has continued to climb, reaching a record high of 240,000 in May.

The Biden administration repealed many of the Trump-era immigration policies designed to curtail illegal crossings, among them the Remain in Mexico policy, formally called Migrant Protection Protocols, under which asylum seekers were required to await their immigration court date in Mexico rather than within the U.S.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, himself the target of intense scrutiny for his handling of the migration crisis, has largely pinned the blame on the previous administration and the existing immigration system.

"We inherited a broken and dismantled system that is already under strain. It is not built to manage the current levels and types of migratory flows," Mayorkas told Congress in April, per the Free Beacon. "Only Congress can fix this."

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