The agency I devoted my life to is under siege from within. The officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are patriotic and dedicated to enforcing America’s laws. Management in Washington, however, appears to be dedicated to gutting immigration enforcement. They may as well be on the path to remaking the agency as Immigration and Customs Evasion.
“Abolish ICE” groups have taken hold inside the agency I used to run and are destroying it from within. Leadership at ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which is historically law enforcement-driven, has been co-opted by Biden Administration officials hell-bent on turning the agency into a social services, catch-and-release organization.
While it would be best if ICE followed our immigration laws and didn’t release millions of illegal immigrants in the country as they wait for a decision after years of immigration proceedings, we should at the very least monitor illegal aliens to ensure compliance with final orders, a practice in rapid decline under Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Instead, ICE is following a release and non-report policy.
In August alone, more than 300,000 immigrants crossed the Southwest border, the highest monthly total in U.S. history.
ICE’s own statistics reveal that 80 percent of illegal immigrants that were released into the interior by the Biden Administration weren’t given a court summons. The immigrants were told to check in with ICE within 60 days, and of course, nearly half didn’t check in at all.
They’ve disappeared into the country, never to be seen again.
Despite 8 million illegal immigrants crossing the border since Joe Biden took office, there are now 72 percent fewer illegal immigrants on GPS monitoring than there were during the previous administration.
Instead of using effective methods of tracking illegal immigrants, the Biden Administration has shifted to providing “social service” welfare programs. One of these programs, Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP), is overseen by a group that backs abolishing ICE.
This is done by design. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and his underlings have undertaken a calculated effort to essentially legalize illegal immigration.
This effort is centered around diminishing interior immigration enforcement. Arrests by ICE’s ERO declined by roughly half during Biden’s first year in office. The use of detainers to take custody of illegal immigrants arrested by local law enforcement has reduced even more – from around 14,000 detainers a month during the Trump Administration to now roughly 3,000 a month.
These policies have dangerous consequences, but this is what Joe Biden promised if he became president. On the 2020 campaign trail, Biden said that illegal immigrant drunk drivers shouldn’t be deported.
The Biden Administration is wholeheartedly embracing the radical left-wing open borders movement. It’s not surprising considering who is really running things at ICE under Secretary Mayorkas.
Claire Trickler-McNulty is the assistant director at ICE in charge of the agency’s programs focused on illegal immigrants released into the interior. According to a book from an NBC reporter, Trickler-McNulty worked within ICE to undermine Trump Administration policy. She later left the administration in 2019 and joined an NGO group that fights deportations and receives tens of millions of dollars from the Vera Institute for Justice, an activist organization that has repeatedly attacked ICE enforcement operations.
My sources at ICE tell me that Trickler-McNulty is behind the administration’s shift from using strong compliance and tracking technologies to social service programs, and she is also attempting to close immigration detention facilities, lest we deport anyone with final orders. In an unprecedented move, ICE gave her power over all enforcement contracts, and she has used the past three years to redirect the agency mission toward NGO-delivered welfare services for those coming here illegally.
This includes, but is not limited to, ICE’s Case Management Pilot Program, overseen by Church World Service, which backs defunding ICE. And, Ms. Trickler-McNulty’s office is pushing a massive program called “Release and Reporting Management,” that would expand social services to all 5.7 million illegal immigrants on the non-detained docket, which would cost taxpayers billions.
Trickler-McNulty is the epitome of an ideological, corrupt bureaucrat. In 2022, ICE’s Inspector General issued a scathing report on an $87 million no-bid contract awarded by ICE to Endeavors, an NGO with no experience in offering the services. Who advised Endeavors for years and then was hired by the company on Biden’s inauguration day to oversee contracts? Trickler-McNulty’s former counterpart and friend at ICE, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, who would later go on to refer to this contract award as a “corrupt bargain” in a video captured by Project Veritas.
Policies like those pushed by Trickler-McNulty are unsustainable. The whole world, including military aged men from terror hotbeds in the Middle East, is now flocking to our southern border because they know you can simply wave down a Border Patrol agent, get released into the U.S., and face no consequences.
Our borders are falling, as our sovereignty is being attacked from within. It is time for those on Capitol Hill to wake up and hold these taxpayer-funded bureaucrats accountable for defying congressional intent and jeopardizing the safety and security of the American people.
Tom Homan is a senior fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute and the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.