Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is admitting that the agency has “no records” on hundreds of thousands of border crossers released into the United States that it was supposed to be monitoring through its Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program.
In September 2022, the Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with DHS officials to secure information about the more than 350,000 border crossers currently enrolled in the ATD program by the Biden administration.
The ATD program allows border crossers who have recently arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border to be released into the nation’s interior while being electronically monitored by DHS. The monitoring can come in the form of ankle bracelets or cellphones that only track location and have facial recognition capabilities.
In response to FOIA request, DHS officials wrote back that the agency has “no records” on the hundreds of thousands of border crossers who have entered the ATD program since Fiscal Year 2019.
The DHS response reads:
You have requested records pertaining to “the latest alien-by-alien, anonymous data covering all individuals who were taken into custody by ICE and entered (or transferred to) ICE ATD custody from the beginning of FY 2019 through August 2022 (or date of search, whichever later). [Emphasis added]
ICE has conducted a search of the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) for records responsive to your request and no records responsive to your request were found. [Emphasis added]
DHS previously admitted to providing inaccurate ATD program data for Fiscal Year 2022, forcing TRAC researchers to issue a warning on their page that the number of border crossers enrolled in the program may not be accurate.
ICE's data mismanagement issues surrounding Alternatives to Detention (which claims to track 377k migrants) have become so bad that TRAC has been forced to add a WARNING to our ATD data online. Still waiting for the agency to send us corrected data…https://t.co/1bHPBJ1OWK pic.twitter.com/0PlDmVrNwT
— Austin Kocher, PhD (@ackocher) December 29, 2022
The Biden administration has drastically grown the ATD program to now include hundreds of thousands of border crossers who are released into the U.S. interior.
The latest enrollment figures show that nearly 378,000 border crossers are enrolled in the ATD program. Compare that figure to September 2019 when a little more than 83,000 border crossers were enrolled in the program.
In the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) year-end report for Fiscal Year 2022, agency officials admit to having “significantly expanded ATD enrollment from an average daily population of approximately 23,000 active participants at the end of FY 2014 to 321,000” by last year’s end.
These ATD enrollees represent a fraction of the 4.8 million border crossers and illegal aliens who have either final deportation orders or pending deportation orders but remain living across American communities — including 1.2 million who have been ordered deported by a federal immigration judge.