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Lankford, Cornyn Release Report on Continued Failures at the Border

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee Border Management Subcommittee, and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee Immigration Subcommittee, today announced yet another bombshell report on the chaos at the southern border and how the completely mismanaged asylum process is now backlogged well past earlier reports.

The report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) outlines the 10+ year backlog for migrants seeking asylum at our southern border that results from the catch-and-release notice to report and parole with alternatives to detention processes. Migrants who receive a notice to report or parole with alternatives to detention are released from custody and asked to report to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement within 60 days of release. The report confirms Lankford’s claims that this process has allowed thousands of migrants to disappear into the interior of our country without consequences.

“This report makes it clear that the southern border remains open. The Biden Administration solution of just processing people into the country faster is creating more chaos and is releasing thousands of people into the country without legal status and without any known criminal history,” said Lankford. “One out of every four migrants processed through Notice to Report did not respond even to the first check in with ICE. It is absurd to think that someone who is entering the US by breaking the law is going to follow instructions when it’s time to check in with ICE. This report provides evidence that there are clear actionable items the Biden Administration can take to fix the national security crisis they have created for the country and the chaos they have created at the border.”

“This report lays bare what we already knew: the Biden Administration’s practice of issuing so-called Notices to Report or otherwise paroling migrants into the US on the promise they will eventually report to ICE is an abject failure, with one in four migrants disappearing into the interior, unlikely to be located again,” said Cornyn. “Instead of propping up ineffective programs that exacerbate the problem, the Biden Administration should work with Congress to actually fix this issue and relieve the immense burden this crisis has placed on border communities.”

Background

In fiscal year 2021 (FY21), Border Patrol reported about 1.7 million apprehensions from our southern border—a 300 percent increase over FY20. In March 2021, Border Patrol initiated its Notice to Report (NTR) process for border crossers, and in July 2021, they began their humanitarian parole process known as “Parole plus alternatives to detention” (ATD) as well. From July 2021 through February 2022, Border Patrol released about 91,000 family unit members under parole plus ATD. Because of overwhelming numbers of migrants who have surged at our southern border and into ICE field offices around the country, the numerous issues have occurred in the processes of:

  • establishing where border crossers came from
  • assessing whether border crossers have a criminal background in their home country
  • assessing where they are ultimately headed once they arrive in the US
  • tracking border crossers who enter
  • issuing them an NTR
  • getting them to a court date

Key report findings

  • CBP did not coordinate with ICE prior to creating its NTR process. As a result, ICE only caught on to the process after hundreds of migrants began randomly appearing at ICE field offices asking to be processed. One ICE field office reported that between 300 and 500 migrants would appear outside their office on multiple days asking to be processed.
  • Nearly one out of four migrants processed with Notice to Report and Parole did not actually report. Twenty-two to 25 percent of migrants issued a Notice to Report have not reported to ICE. Seventy-eight percent of migrants who received a NTR reported, but only 75 percent of migrants with Parole plus ATD reported. Migrants who received ankle bracelets/cell phones had a lower incidence of reporting than those who were just released without monitoring and asked to report.
  • CBP did not validate addresses for migrants who were processed with NTRs and faced issues with address validation for Parole plus ATD as well. CBP’s systems could not distinguish between a home address and a McDonalds address, which means that CBP had no way to determine whether the migrant would be residing at the address given.
  • CBP only captured addresses for 40 percent of migrants who were issued an NTR between March 2021 and June 2021. Additionally, approximately 22 to 25 percent of migrants issued an NTR or granted parole have absconded or have disappeared and have not reported to ICE at all.

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