Criminals free despite extension of border rule, spaces made for migrant surge now empty

In December, the Homeland Security Department released over 1,100 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions from its detention centers in an attempt to make space for a border surge. However, this never happened.

According to deportation officers, they were instructed not to make arrests anymore and that there was enough space for the potential impact of a change in a border policy. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released data this month that shows the extent of these moves.

ICE stated that it had released 515 criminally convicted migrants and 641 who were facing active criminal charges.

Officers claimed that the Title 42 pandemic policy border policy was responsible for the release. This court order had been made to allow the policy to be dissolved just before Christmas. According to the Homeland Security Department, border chaos records could be tripled and officers were clearing out ICE facilities in an effort to house some of the worst border violators.


The Supreme Court ultimately ordered Title 42 to remain in effect while it heard and considered arguments. Even though illegal border crossings rose, the cataclysmic surge didn’t materialize.

This made the release all the more frustrating, according to R.J. Hauman (head of government relations at Federation for American Immigration Reform).

According to Mr. Hauman, “What they did in December as a prelude to the Title 42 ruling that never came down” was yet another act in enforcement theater that jeopardizes the integrity of the system and public safety.

It is not unusual to detain illegal immigrants in limbo, especially for those who are caught at the border.

But the scale of the border chaos, and the Biden administration’s antipathy towards detention means beds go unoccupied while illegal immigrants are allowed to enter the country.

Only a small fraction of December’s total release numbers were from criminals. This was more than 80% higher than the October and November averages.

ICE used just 20,000 beds for detention in January, despite having 34,000 beds funded on an average day.

As of last week, ICE had 23,030 people. This is nearly 11,000 less than the daily capacity.

ICE did not respond to a request for information regarding this article.

Tom Homan, the leader of ICE in the first Trump administration, stated to The Times that all detention decisions now are made by a political appointee and not career staffers.

According to Mr. Homan, the appointee wants to promote release and not detention.

He said, “The sad fact is that there are many empty beds sitting vacant already paid.”

Mr. Horman stated that money being siphoned to Biden-friendly groups is a part of the problem. This includes both non-governmental organizations that are paid by the government to settle immigrants in their communities, as well as for-profit companies that monitor the monitoring programs that allow them to track some of those migrants who have been released through phone check-ins.

According to Mr. Homan, enforcement is based on detention. Illegal immigrants who can be held can be deported. Most people who are released stay because they delay their court cases or ignore deportation rulings.

Mr. Homan stated that “they are in the wind waiting to the next amnesty agreement.”

There are two types of release from detention for ICE. The first is bonding out by a judge, or by ICE. Another is a discretionary release from ICE on an order or supervision, or through the power of parole of the homeland security secretary.

Bonds released by criminals increased only 10% in December. However, ICE’s discretionary release of criminals rose 66%.

This totaled 1,156 criminal releases, 515 with convictions and 641 with pending cases.

ICE records do not detail the type of crime involved.

ICE also stopped pursuing criminals in the field and ended its pursuit of new targets.

According to one ICE officer, his region was told not to arrest anyone else due to a shortage of detention space.

According to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, ICE officers only booked in 5,950 people for December. This is down from 6,500 in November and October.

Pre-pandemic, ICE booked twice as many people per month in the Trump years.