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ICE released over 11,000 'high flight risk' illegal aliens: Gov't watchdog
Photo by Bryan Cox/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Getty Images

ICE released over 11,000 'high flight risk' illegal aliens: Gov't watchdog

More than 1,000 of the individuals considered medium or high risk to public safety.

A United States Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General June report found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement released more than 11,000 "high flight risk" illegal aliens into the country from fiscal year 2022 through 2023.

The government watchdog revealed that ICE released 11,754 of the 339,478 illegal immigrants that its Risk Classification Assessment advised should be detained.

'ICE cannot ensure transparency in its detention decision-making process.'

According to the report, "The RCA process assessed 328 of these 11,754 released noncitizens as being a high risk to public safety. Additionally, the RCA process assessed 11,608 of the 11,754 released noncitizens as being a high flight risk."

A table breakdown of the nearly 12,000 individuals released into the U.S. showed that 328 were considered a "high risk to public safety," while 813 were labeled a "medium" risk. Most of the individuals, 11,608, were marked as a "high flight risk."

In addition to releasing the illegal immigrants against the recommendations of its RCA, ICE officials also "did not always sufficiently document the rationale for these decisions," the inspector general report read.

"From our statistical sample of the 11,754 records for noncitizens who were released counter to the RCA recommendation actions, we identified 190 (71 percent) of 266 records that did not contain sufficient information to determine why ICE officers released the noncitizen," the report continued. "Rather, we found, the officers and supervisors provided short, broad, or general responses in the RCA module's comment field for decision justifications."

The inspector general's investigation found that only 29% of the records contained "sufficient details to support the decision."

"Inferring the sample results to the total population of 11,754 records, we estimate that between 7,860 and 8,931 RCA records did not contain sufficient information to determine why ICE officers released the noncitizen. Without sufficiently documenting justifications for deviating from RCA recommendations, ICE cannot ensure transparency in its detention decision-making process — especially when releasing noncitizens whom the RCA determines may pose a threat to public safety or might be a flight risk," the report stated.

ICE has lacked "oversight of the RCA process" since its Office of Detention Policy and Planning was disbanded in 2017, and the responsibility was not assigned to another office.

The inspector general's report offered two recommendations, including assigning an office to manage the RCA process and implementing a "formal policy and procedure for using the risk classification assessment process."

ICE concurred with both recommendations.

Another June DHS inspector general report found that the department's vetting procedures for illegal aliens released into the U.S. needs improvement, Blaze News previously reported. According to the audit, DHS' processes "were not fully effective to screen and vet noncitizens applying for admission into the United States or asylum seekers whose asylum applications were pending for an extended period."

Its investigation discovered that Border Patrol officers at three land ports of entry "did not query all vehicle occupants in Simplified Arrival to identify criminal warrants, national security concerns, or border crossing history before admitting them into the country." Additionally, management "frequently directed" agents to "query only drivers to expedite processing," the report read.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →