Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA) participated in a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Administrator Tae D. Johnson. Hinson pressed Johnson on ICE’s inability to track illegal immigrants within the U.S. Johnson admitted that ICE is not tracking illegal immigrants once they have been released into the U.S. and that ICE does not know how many illegal immigrants are currently in Iowa, or how many plan to go to Iowa after being released from federal custody at the border. Key highlights from the exchange are below.
Congresswoman Hinson: “We did talk about in our call the disconnect between ICE and Customs and Border Patrol, specifically when it comes to tracking illegal immigrants, once they have been released into the United States. So today, can you confirm for me the ability, or the inability, rather, for ICE to track illegal immigrants’ location and then their activity within the Homeland on that person-level, following their release by CBP?”
Acting Administrator Johnson: “As I mentioned in our call, there’s certainly some gaps in our ability to track everyone that’s released in the interior, for those individuals that are released on alternatives to detention, whether it’s an ankle monitor or a smart link or telephonic reporting, we have much better success at keeping track of those. But for individuals that are just released with a notice or notification to report to ICE or to show up in court, then our ability to track those folks closely is much more limited.”
Congresswoman Hinson: “Can you state for the record that you’re not currently able to tell Iowans how many illegal immigrants are present in Iowa right now, or, how many CBP has released into the country with plans to be in Iowa?”
Acting Administrator Johnson: “That is correct. I mean… that’s my understanding. I would like to go back to CBP and just clarify that they are unable to pull data by state, but that is my understanding that their system of record will not sort of produce a report based on the states that the individuals that they’re releasing are proposing to reside.”