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Homeland Security Loses Track of Migrants, Report Finds


By: Casey Harper | The Center Square

The federal government has little ability to keep track of migrants once they are apprehended entering the U.S. and subsequently released into the country, according to a new report.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, a federal watchdog group, released the report showing that DHS has major room for improvement in maintaining valid addresses for migrants to follow up with them.

“[Immigration and Customs Encorcement] must be able to locate migrants to enforce immigration laws, including to arrest or remove individuals who are considered potential threats to national security,” the report said. “The notable percentage of missing, invalid for delivery, or duplicate addresses on file means DHS may not be able to locate migrants following their release into the United States. As the Department continues to apprehend and release tens of thousands of migrants each month, valid post-release addresses are essential.”

The report comes as illegal immigration has exploded in the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office, prompting roughly 50 Texas counties to declare an invasion and roughly 50 Texas counties to issue disaster declarations and declare states of emergency.

It also comes as the Biden administration still can't account for the whereabouts of at least 130,000 unaccompanied minors placed in homes with sponsors or individuals who claimed to be family members under the oversight of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to two separate reports. Allegations of abuse and neglect and the federal government not being able to account for the whereabouts of so many children prompted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to call for a grand jury investigation. Its findings also resulted in a congressional investigation.

As The Center Square previously reported, in August at least 215,908 foreign nationals were caught or reported evading capture after illegally entering the southwest border.

According to the report, DHS released more than 1 million migrants into the U.S. from March 2021 to August 2022. The IG tracked DHS’ work in obtaining addresses and keeping up with these migrants, many of whom were apprehended as they illegally entered the country.

“Based on our review of 981,671 migrant records documented by USBP from March 2021 through August 2022, addresses for more than 177,000 migrant records were either missing, invalid for delivery, or not legitimate residential locations,” the report said.

On top of that, DHS struggled to validate the addresses they did have.

“In addition to migrants not providing U.S. release addresses, DHS faced several challenges hindering its ability to record and validate migrant addresses as required,” the report said. “USBP did not accurately and effectively capture valid addresses, in part due to the large number of migrants apprehended, as well as its limited coordination with ICE and its limited authority to administer compliance with address requirements. ICE also did not have adequate resources to validate and analyze migrants’ post-release addresses.”

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