Conservatives have a healthy and well-deserved skepticism of self-proclaimed “fact-checkers,” but the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has done a great job exposing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s false claim that migrants who lose their asylum claims “are promptly removed from the United States.”
Skipping to the punch line, Kessler concludes that “more than 1 million people who entered the country without proper documents have been given deportation orders — and still have not left. Others have disappeared — a problem that may have gotten worse as tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants are released in the country each month.”
But where did Kessler get this information? The data are nowhere to be found on the DHS website. Turns out Kessler pulled the numbers from a declaration filed with a federal court on January 21, 2021, that was part of Texas’s suit against the Biden administration’s policy to end all deportations for the administration’s first 100 days.
Note that this was the number of migrants who had been given deportation orders and had not been deported at the time President Joe Biden was sworn into office. That number has certainly gone up since Biden began rolling back immigration enforcement, but Biden has not released what the real number is today.
The only reason we have any data through January 2021 is that Texas sued the Biden administration. But for this litigation, we wouldn’t have these numbers, and Kessler could not perform his fact check.
Kessler also dives into past “Enforcement Lifecycle” reports published by the DHS to put the current deportation numbers in context. But, as Kessler notes, the last full report available online is based on 2020 data. The Biden administration has not published the 2021 data.
Kessler also reports that through March 2022, 993,225 migrants have been arrested for illegally crossing the southern border and released by Biden into the United States (this includes 836,225 adults and families and another 157,000 unaccompanied children).
But again, the data are nowhere on the DHS’s website. The only reason Kessler has the data is that a federal court in Texas declared the DHS to provide the monthly numbers as part of a court order.
Kessler goes on to report that while the Biden administration has caught and released about 1 million migrants into the U.S., it has deported just 29,000 through September 2021. That number comes from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement FY2021 report. But the FY2021 report is much shorter and less detailed compared to earlier years. Of the 29,000 Biden has deported, how many were arrested and removed solely for losing their asylum claim? The report doesn’t say. It does note that 66% of those deported were convicted criminals, which tends to suggest that the vast majority of those that were deported, were not deported just for losing their asylum claim.
So, Biden has arrested about 1 million migrants for illegally crossing the southern border and released them into the United States. At the same time, Biden has deported, at most, a couple thousand who entered illegally and then lost their asylum claims.
The migrants have a rough knowledge of these numbers because their friends and family already here have been let in, allowed to stay, and are not being reported. That is why tons more migrants will be swarming the border once Title 42 is lifted.
If Biden wants to repair the damage his immigration policies have done to his presidency, the first thing he needs to do is start being honest with the public about what his immigration policies are doing.
The people shouldn’t have to sue the federal government to find out how many migrants arrested for illegally crossing the southern border are being released into the U.S. We should be told exactly how many illegal immigrants are deported each month and for what reason.
Until Biden comes clean and publishes real, up-to-date, and comprehensive immigration data, there is no reason the public should trust him on the issue.