ICE Release 11,000 Flight Risk Illegal Migrants Into U.S

( – According to a 2012 email, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are supposed to complete a risk assessment to classify detained migrants and determine whether or not they should be detained. This assessment should be completed within five days. However, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that wasn’t always the case.

On June 12, Inspector General Doctor Joseph Cuffari sent a letter and a report to ICE Deputy Director Patrick Lechleitner stating that ICE officers did not consistently use the risk assessment to stop the release of high-risk individuals.

The final report noted that ICE processed over 273,000 migrants during the 2023 fiscal year, and the OIG completed the audit to determine how consistently ICE officers used risk assessment to analyze information such as family ties, criminal history, safety risk, and flight risk. The audit found that officers did not conduct the tests for nearly 80,000 individuals — 33% of the over 244,000 detained migrants. The OIG stated that the number was down from the previous year when the figure was 43%.

The report went on to say that ICE released 11,754 of the nearly 339,500 migrants who received a detention recommendation—3%. According to the OIG, 328 of those individuals presented a high risk to public safety. The audit determined that 99% of them were a high flight risk.

The audit found that for 190 out of the 266 records identified, the officers didn’t provide a sufficient explanation as to why the individuals were released when the risk assessment said they should be detained.

Based on its findings, the OIG gave two recommendations. First, the Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations should assign oversight responsibilities for the risk assessment process to an office. Second, the associate director should implement a formal policy outlining officers’ risk classification procedures.

The guidelines should include when the assessment should be done and how to properly document their findings and reasonings for release, if applicable.

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