By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday that it will take decades — 14 of them, in fact — to process all illegal immigrants who ‘surged’ across the U.S. border since 2018.
And that’s thanks to the current snail’s pace of adjudicating their cases, Matt Albence, acting ICE director, told lawmakers.
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Albence told the House Appropriations Committee that the border surges of 2018-2019 added 900,000 cases to ICE’s non-detained docket, now totaling more than 3.3 million — a number only possible thanks to the inability of successive congresses and administrations before President Trump to implement more effective border security laws and policies years ago.
Albence said the number of cases pending now far outstrips his agency’s ability to track down and deport those who have been ordered to leave the country, a phenomenon that will no doubt delight the open borders Democrats who currently control the House.
â€œWe arrested about 2,500 non-criminal fugitives last year. If we do that, based on just the numbers that came in the last two years, it would take us about 140 years to clear up that backlog,â€ the ICE chief said, according to the Washington Times, as he defended the agency’s large budget increase for 2021, in which he envisions maintaining about 60,000 bedsÂ per day.
That’s up from 34,000 during the final year of the Obama administration and about 15,000 more than Congress approved for the current fiscal year.
“Without additional resources to actually effectuate a judgeâ€™s removal orders, we will have an immigration enforcement and court system in which billions of dollars a year are spent to obtain orders, that are not worth the paper they are written on,â€ Albence told lawmakers.
The Times noted:
ICE ended fiscal 2017 with 2.4 million people on its docket but loose in communities. At the end of fiscal 2018 it had grown 2.6 million. At the end of 2019 it was a record 3.3 million cases, Mr.Â AlbenceÂ said.
Of those, more than 600,000 are fugitives, meaning theyâ€™ve been ordered removed and are actively defying the order.
Mr.Â AlbenceÂ said the growing docket backlog is caused by the border and the migrant surges of 2018 and 2019.
He said newly arrived illegal immigrants are in Customs and Border Protection custody for days, then get transferred to ICE where it can take years to process their cases. They remain on ICEâ€™s docket until they win relief or are ordered deported.
Albence noted further that while the number of immigration judges has risen, there has not been a corresponding rise in ICE attorneys to present cases before the immigration courts. So…the backlog worsens.
And yet, the Times notes that even some Republicans voiced skepticism about the budget increase, which is regrettable considering that Democrats are the party of open borders and were likely listening to Albence plead his case with glee, knowing there are at least 2.4 million more illegal immigrants filling blue cities and states in a year of the Census.
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Our immigration system is flat-out broken because it is underfunded, understaffed, and underused. It’ll take another four years of President Trump to fix it — that is, if it’s even fixable at this point.
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