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ICE Not Effectively Managing Deportation of Aliens, IG Says as Deported Alleged DACA Protected Individual Becomes Politicized

Following a second inspection by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) management of aliens released from detention and under ICE supervision, and “whether there are systemic factors hampering ICE’s ability to deport these aliens,” the IG concluded, “ICE does not effectively manage the deportation of aliens who are no longer detained, but are under its supervision.”

The IG’s new audit report stated, “Effective management requires preparing and deploying the right number of employees to achieve program and policy objectives. In contrast, although many ICE Deportation Officers supervising aliens reported overwhelming caseloads and difficulty fulfilling their responsibilities, ICE does not collect and analyze data about employee workloads to allocate staff judiciously and determine achievable caseloads.”

The IG said, “Effective management also requires providing well-defined policies and procedures to employees,” but that, “ICE has not clearly and widely communicated DHS deportation priorities to Deportation Officers; not issued up-to-date, comprehensive and accessible procedures; and not provided sufficient training.”

Consequently, the IG reported, “ICE’s failure to effectively balance and adequately prepare its workforce also makes it harder to address other obstacles to deportation, which may require significant time and resources. These management deficiencies and unresolved obstacles make it difficult for ICE to deport aliens expeditiously.”

The IG said, “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.”

ICE concurred with all five recommendations made by the IG, “and has initiated corrective actions that should improve its management of deportation of aliens under its supervision.”

The IG said it considers all five of its recommendations “resolved and open.”

Meanwhile, in response to a lawsuit made public this week in which attorneys for Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez allege the 23-year-old was deported from California to Mexico on February 18 despite having had protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, DHS said in a statement that, “After a detailed records search, it was determined that [Montes-Bojorquez] was approved for DACA starting in 2014 and had a DACA expiration date of January 25, 2018. However, Mr. Montes-Bojorquez lost his DACA status when he left the United States without advance parole on an unknown date prior to his arrest by the US Border Patrol on February 19, 2017.”

DHS said, “According to his interview with the Border Patrol, conducted in Spanish, he entered the United States on February 19, 2017, and he acknowledged that he understood the questions that he was being asked. Departing the country without advance parole terminates the protections Montes-Bojorquez was granted under DACA.”

Border Patrol said it has no record of encountering Montes-Bojorquez in the days before his detention and subsequent arrest for immigration violations on February 19, 2017.

“There are no records or evidence to support Montes-Bojorquez’s claim that he was detained or taken to the Calexico Port of Entry on February 18, 2017,” DHS said, noting that, “Prior to his arrest by the United States Border Patrol on February 19, 2017, Montes-Bojorquez’s last documented encounter with any United States immigration law enforcement official was in August of 2010, where he was permitted to withdraw his application of admission in lieu of receiving an Expedited Removal.”

During Montes-Bojorquez’s detention and arrest by Border Patrol on February 19, DHS said he admitted to agents he’d illegally entered the United States and was arrested. “He later admitted the same under oath. All of the arrest documents from February 19, 2017, bear Montes-Bojorquez’s signature. During his arrest interview, he never mentioned that he had received DACA status. However, even if Montes-Bojorquez had informed agents of his DACA status, he had violated the conditions of his status by breaking continuous residency in the United States by leaving and then reentering the US illegally. Montes-Bojorquez’s Employment Authorization Document is only for employment, and is not valid for entry or admission into the United States.”

DHS said Montes-Bojorquez was repatriated to Mexico on February 20, 2017, shortly after 3:20 PM.

His lawyers, however, claim Montes-Bojorquez had renewed his DACA status in 2016, which would keep him protected until 2018.

Despite DHS’s records, Democrats on the Hill seized on the case, claiming President Trump and DHS Secretary John Kelly have lied about the administration’s commitment to respect DACA and that no one with active DACA status would, or has been, deported.

"We have not picked up — I don’t care what you read or what people say — we have not in my time picked up someone who is covered by DACA," Kelly said in late March after a meeting with Senate Democrats, with the exception of previous DACA recipients detained by DHS whose DACA status had expired or nullified by criminal activity.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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