ICE Lost Track of 150,000 Illegal Immigrants: Florida AG

ICE Lost Track of 150,000 Illegal Immigrants: Florida AG
Illegal immigrants traveling in a caravan of more than a thousand people from countries such as Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic cross the Rio Grande river to ask for political asylum in the United States, in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on Dec. 11, 2022. (Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody has revealed new video evidence that shows officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lost track of 150,000 illegal immigrants who had entered the United States.

In March 2021, border officials began releasing immigrant illegals, asking them to report to the ICE office closest to their intended residence. However, the officials did not issue formal charging documents for these migrants. Charging documents require illegal aliens to appear before a federal immigration judge. ICE officials use these documents to locate and remove them.

In November 2021, the Biden administration implemented “Operation Horizon” to locate over 150,000 migrants released by the officials so that they can send official charging documents by mail.

However, ICE training videos released by Moody, which were recorded between November 2021 and February 2022, show that officials were quite restricted in their ability to locate and remove illegal immigrants as they lacked the identifying information of such aliens.

“Operation Horizon, the background on this … you know over the summer, we had well over 150,000 folks come in. They were issued a piece of paper that said, ‘find somebody in ICE,’ and that was pretty much it,” an official says in one of the training videos, according to a Dec. 20 news release by Moody.
“There was no processing. I know this isn’t something that you guys asked for, and I can assure you that no one in the criminal alien program asked for it either.”

Biden’s Mismanagement

The videos were brought to attention a day before the Title 42 policy was set to expire on Dec. 21. However, a Supreme Court Chief Justice delayed the expiry of the policy on Monday. The court is hearing pleas from multiple states who insist on keeping the immigration restrictions.

Title 42, which was invoked by former President Donald Trump in March 2020, allowed the administration to expel illegal immigrants entering the southern border during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration has been preparing to end the policy.

“If Title 42 ends, the administration may blame the mass surge of unvetted migrants on this rule’s remission, but don’t be fooled. They’re playing fast and loose with the lives of Americans to advance an absurd political agenda,” Moody said, according to the release.

“As our litigation uncovered, this has been this administration’s plan all along. They’ve let in and lost track of hundreds of thousands of inadmissible immigrants, and it will get worse if Title 42 expires. We will continue our litigation efforts to force Biden to follow the law and try to mitigate this national disaster.”

Illegal Immigration

According to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), patrol officials reported over 2.37 million encounters in the 2022 fiscal year spanning from October 2021 to September 2022. This is up from 1.73 million in the 2021 fiscal year and 458,088 from fiscal year 2020.

At present, 30 percent of illegal immigrants are being returned back to Mexico under Title 42 powers, with the remaining being released into the United States under Title 8. According to Title 8 provisions, illegal immigrants are to be detained unless their immigration proceedings are completed.

In October, border officials processed around 81,500 illegal aliens under Title 42 and turned them back to Mexico. Meanwhile, almost 196,000 immigrants were processed under Title 8 and released into the United States. If Title 42 was not in effect, 30,000 of the 81,500 illegal aliens would have been allowed entry into America under Title 8.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, former CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan criticized the Biden administration for removing “any consequences of entering illegally.”

Ninety percent of illegal immigrants end up filing a “fake and fraudulent claim” for asylum. “We should not be releasing them in the United States … We should be detaining them,” he said.

Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
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