Overwhelmed U.S. Deportation Officers Lose Track of Thousands of Criminals—“You might work 18 hours a day, but you still won’t get caught up.”
The federal agency responsible for deporting illegal immigrants is in serious trouble, with overwhelmed officers that can’t keep up with monstrous workloads and repeatedly lose track of hardcore criminals inside the United States. Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with criminal records have been released by authorities in the U.S. and the Homeland Security agency responsible for keeping track of them, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is doing a miserable job, according to a new audit made public this week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General.
As of August 2016, ICE was supervising about 2.2 million aliens released into communities throughout the nation. Officially they are known as appearing on the “non-detained docket.” About 368,574 are convicted criminals, the watchdog report states. To put things in perspective the inspector general reveals that in 2015 ICE removed 235,413 individuals of which 139,368 were convicted criminals. A surge in illegal immigrants under the Obama administration pushed matters into crisis mode. Deportation officers are so overworked that they often lose track of dangerous illegal aliens with serious criminal histories. This includes individuals who represent critical national security threats, according to the federal probe.
ICE does not ensure that deportation officer workloads are balanced and achievable, the report states, and the agency doesn’t provide clear policies and procedures or sufficient training and tools. Additionally, ICE fails to effectively prepare its workforce to handle complicated deportations. The result is an agency that operates in chaos and compromises the well-being of unsuspecting communities nationwide, not to mention national security. “ICE does not effectively manage the supervision and deportation of nondetained aliens,” the report says. “Effective management requires preparing and deploying the right number of employees to achieve program and policy objectives.” Furthermore, the agency doesn’t bother collecting and analyzing data about employee workloads to allocate staff judiciously and determine achievable caseloads, according to the inspector general.
As an example, the report reveals that ICE deportation officers in the District of Columbia average over 10,000 cases each and those in Atlanta, Georgia over 5,000. One ICE agent cited in the report said this: “You might work 18 hours a day, but you still won’t get caught up.” Inspectors visited four key field offices and determined that the management deficiencies and unresolved obstacles make it difficult for the feds to deport aliens expeditiously. “ICE is almost certainly not deporting all the aliens who could be deported and will likely not be able to keep up with growing numbers of deportable aliens,” the report states. This is hardly earth-shattering news, but it’s still alarming to confirm the large number of criminals that fall through the cracks.
The investigation is a follow up to a related probe surrounding ICE’s negligence in failing to deport an illegal immigrant with a serious criminal record at least three times, allowing him to murder a young woman in Connecticut. The Haitian man, Jean Jacques, had completed a 15-year sentence for murder and was supposed to be removed from the country after leaving prison. Instead, he remained in the U.S. and viciously butchered the woman to death in her own apartment. ICE claims that Haiti simply refused to take Jacques—on three different occasions. In a scathing report issued last summer the DHS Inspector General blasted ICE for not doing more to remove Jacques from the country and failing to contact the Haitian consulate in Miami, Florida to request a travel document after Jacques’ third repatriation rejection. “There is no record that ICE ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations) made this request,” the report states, adding that “ERO officials had previously made hundreds of similar requests to the Haitian consulates for travel documents without success and we have no reason to believe that the Jacques matter would have been different.”