Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are sounding the alarm over a new Biden administration proposal to outsource key immigration enforcement responsibilities and services, which they say could allow the administration to fund activist groups.
ICE is seeking information from outside groups to potentially handle a new program called “Release and Reporting Management” (RRM), which is intended to provide social services and monitoring capabilities for illegal immigrants released into the country, according to agency requests for information to prospective ICE partners published Aug. 17. The move is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to limit immigration enforcement and expand social services by handing out lucrative contracts to activist groups, former ICE officials told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The proposed RRM program is divided into three separate sections. The first is requests information from third-party organizations, such as nonprofits and non-governmental organizations, that could administer monitoring technology on illegal migrants, while the second requests information from groups that could provide the personnel and space to conduct check-ins with illegal aliens released from federal custody.
The third potential program is for an organization to handle legal assistance; psychosocial services; therapeutic services; medical services; food and clothing banks; housing; public transportation information; parental information; education information; and repatriation and reintegration services, according to the requests. That program would also give the outside organization the ability to refer illegal migrants to social services from other private organizations, according to the requests.
Former ICE officials said this will only shift ICE further away from law enforcement duties while funding and empowering activists in favor of less immigration enforcement.
“Why should DHS or ICE fund legal assistance or ‘intensive direct assistance’ with immigration cases? There are countless immigration law firms and well-funded NGOs that offer these services. This is nothing more than an attempt to siphon taxpayer money from law enforcement and hand it over to anti-enforcement activists,” former ICE Chief of Staff under the Trump administration Jon Feere told the DCNF.
In the requests, ICE says that its existing Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program currently serves as a “precursor” to the new program. ATD is a program that ICE uses to monitor illegal aliens not in physical detention.
“It actually guts the current ATD model and puts more services into NGO hands. The services for medical, therapy and housing will only enrich contracts while nearly eliminating custodial detention,” former ICE Field Office Director John Fabbricatore, who is now an advisory board member at the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE), told the DCNF.
One of the ATD programs, which is known as the Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP), is already managed by a group, the Church World Service, that has previously called to “abolish” ICE.
ICE also previously invited an “abolish ICE” activist to an event discussing ATD, according to an internal document the DCNF obtained in December.
The requests are part of ICE appointees’ mission to “appeal to their base,” former acting ICE Director Tom Homan told the DCNF.
“It is inappropriate for these political appointees to make contract decisions over career federal officials who have decades of experience. Especially when these political appointees put the mission and enforcement of the law last while rewarding NGOs with millions of dollars in federal contracts who do not support the ICE mission,” Homan added.
Meanwhile, ICE has seen arrests and deportations dip under the Biden administration while illegal immigration has increased to record levels. While Border Patrol encounters of illegal migrants at the southern border topped a record 2.2 million in fiscal year 2022, ICE conducted roughly 72,000 removals of illegal aliens, compared to roughly 185,000 in fiscal year 2020 when migrant encounters were lower.
The Biden administration has also limited ICE arrests and deportations to illegal aliens deemed to be risks to national security, border security and public safety.
“The effort is aimed at giving the appearance of control over a release policy that is out of control. They know DHS is losing track of thousands of aliens every month, and instead of detaining more people, they’re giving money to NGOs in the hope aliens will suddenly comply with the law. The solution to non-detained illegal aliens ignoring federal law is to stop releasing illegal aliens,” Feere, who now serves as the director of investigations at the Center for Immigration Studies, added.
“Outsourcing routine law enforcement work to activists — many of whom would likely be openly anti-borders — is a costly and pointless initiative. ICE should be asking for more detention, more officers, and stronger penalties,” Feere said.
ICE didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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