House Republicans have issued a request to have a transcribed interview with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who oversees the deportations of illegal immigrants.
The letter was sent in relation to concerns that ICE has failed to enforce federal immigration law amidst a significant surge in illegal immigration.
According to the committee leadership, they have a responsibility to oversee the administration's enforcement of federal immigration law and find it necessary to examine actions by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) during what they describe as a "period of skyrocketing illegal immigration."
The letter highlights a decline in ICE's removal of illegal aliens in 2021 compared with 2020 levels.
"In 2021, ICE's removal of illegal aliens decreased 68 percent below 2020 removal levels. The number of removals in 2022 remained low, nearly 70 percent below the three-year average of removals of illegal aliens between 2018 and 2020," the lawmakers stated in their letter.
Concern for Decreased DeportationThe lawmakers pointed to data from the agency that indicates a rise in illegal immigration, which has caused widespread concern among voters.
"This reduction in removals coincides with a rapid rise in the numbers of individuals on the non-detained docket at ICE—going from 3.6 million individuals on the docket in 2021 to over 4.7 million individuals in 2022," the letter stated.
"More than 1.2 million individuals on the non-detained docket have received a final order of removal, but ICE removed only 72,177 illegal immigrants last year. In other words, ICE removed only six percent of all aliens with a final order of removal in 2022."
The letter addresses the Deputy Executive Associate Director of ICE ERO, expressing the belief that their unique position qualifies them to provide crucial insights for the committee's oversight.
"As the Deputy Executive Associate Director for ICE-ERO, you have information that is relevant and necessary to our oversight of the Executive Branch's enforcement of federal immigration law," the lawmakers said in their letter.
The House Republicans asked that the official make themselves available for a transcribed interview as soon as possible and contact committee staff no later than June 19 to schedule the interview.
Recent ICE Deportation and Tracking TacticsIn an effort to cope with the growing issue of illegal immigration, ICE announced some immigrant families who cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally to seek asylum would be monitored electronically and be subject to a curfew.
ICE stated in a news release that the new "process" will affect family units—those who cross the southwest border with minors—who are apprehended and processed for the last-track deportation procedure known as expedited removal and who indicate they intend to petition for asylum without being deported.
It will also affect family units who are apprehended at the southern frontier and express a "credible fear" of persecution or torture if returned to their home country.
Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) is a program that will equip certain heads of household for family units with Alternatives to Detention (ATD) technology, which is essentially a GPS ankle monitor, so that ICE officials can continuously monitor them.
The new process, according to ICE, is intended to ensure that family units claiming a "credible fear" of persecution, if returned home, appear on time for their interviews with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and any other evaluations requested by an immigration judge.
The process eliminates the need to detain family representatives in detention centers, which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has stated the government has no intentions to reinstate.
It also assists ICE in locating families who are removed from the United States within 30 days under the expedited removal program and do not qualify for the credible fear waiver.
According to ICE, immigrant families will only be enrolled in the new program if they are processed for expedited removal, are nationals of countries to which ICE maintains regular removal flights, and reside in an area under the jurisdiction of an ICE field office located in one of the four FERM-destination cities.
There have been reports that some immigrant families destined for Newark, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, DC, and Chicago, Illinois, will be subject to the new process, however, ICE has not specified which cities will participate in the FERM program.
ICE did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times's request for comment.