Judicial Watch • Illegal Aliens Abscond Under “Humane” ICE Program

Illegal Aliens Abscond Under “Humane” ICE Program

Illegal Aliens Abscond Under “Humane” ICE Program

OCTOBER 28, 2009

Touted by the Obama Administration as key to overhauling the nation’s immigration detention system, a program that monitors illegal aliens instead of jailing them regularly loses track of offenders and the government distorts records to cover it up.

Operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the intensive monitoring program allows illegal aliens to check in by phone, wear ankle monitors and obey a curfew rather than go to prison while they wait for court appearances. ICE claims the alternatives-to-detention program is a huge success and Obama assures it’s a great model for his plans to create a more humane immigration detention system.

But records and statistics obtained by a Houston newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) tell a much different story. Nearly one in five illegal immigrants who participated in the tracking project absconded while under supervision during the last five years, according to the records. Authorities were unable to locate nearly 20% of 6,373 illegal aliens enlisted in the program during that time. About 5% were subsequently rearrested for other matters.

ICE brags about a near perfect success rate because it simply erases those who absconded from the records as if they never existed. The Department of Homeland Security’s largest investigative agency, with about 20,000 employees and 400 offices worldwide, includes only active participants when it calculates its heavily altered statistics. 

Based on the blatantly misleading data, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is working to expand the alternatives-to-detention program, which currently has about 20,000 participants. The former Arizona governor, who has a documented history of opposing immigration enforcement, will submit a proposal to Congress before year’s end in hopes of accomplishing that goal.

It’s all part of the Obama Administration’s plan to pass a “compassionate” and “comprehensive” immigration overhaul that aims to legalize an estimated 12 million undocumented aliens. The legislation is currently being drafted by the chairman of a key congressional task force, Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez, and promises to offer undocumented immigrants U.S. citizenship and humane treatment in prisons.

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