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Press Release Published: Jan 12, 2022

Comer, Cloud, Oversight Republicans: Biden Administration Abolishing ICE’s Mission by Memorandum

Republicans slam Biden for restricting ICE’s ability to arrest and remove illegal aliens

WASHINGTON — Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Ranking Member Michael Cloud (R-Texas), and Oversight Republicans sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Tae Johnson requesting documents and information on the Biden Administration’s guidance restricting interior immigration enforcement, which has resulted in plummeting arrests and removals of illegal aliens from the United States.

“We write to request documents and information on the concerning trend of declining interior immigration enforcement being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as measured by decreasing interior arrests and removals from the United States. We are concerned ICE personnel are being directed to ignore the law and no longer aggressively enforce the immigration laws of the United States in the interior of the country. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration’s policies have created an unprecedented crisis on the southwest border which negatively impacts border communities and the entire United States while enriching criminal cartels who profit from human smuggling and drug trafficking,” wrote the lawmakers. “As radical, left-wing activists recklessly call to abolish ICE, it appears the Biden Administration is abolishing its mission by memorandum.”

On January 20, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued interim guidance restricting interior immigration enforcement by its component agencies, including ICE. After implementation of the guidance, arrests and removals of illegal aliens plummeted by more than 60 percent. On September 30, 2021, DHS issued an even more restrictive, final memorandum to ICE potentially curtailing the agency’s ability to carry out their duties.   

“This dramatic drawdown of interior enforcement is particularly alarming in light of the security crisis along our southwest border. During Fiscal Year 2021, there were over 1.7 million encounters along the southwest land border—the highest total ever recorded. And this number only represents actual apprehensions. It does not account for the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who have evaded detection and made it into the interior of the United States,” concluded the lawmakers.  

To assist Committee Republicans in better understanding the consequences of the Biden Administration’s interior enforcement guidance and how ICE is interpreting it, the lawmakers are requesting all documents and communications from DHS to ICE related to the September 30, 2021 final memorandum.  

Read the letter to Acting Director Tae Johnson here.