More ICE Madness: DHS's Detention and Removal Unit Admits Defeat
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The revolving door of immigration detention, which I described and denounced back in the days of the bad old INS, is alive and well in the new Department of Homeland Security.

Before the meltdown of the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division gets any worse, Secretario Ridge had better take a good look at the unit's so-called "strategic plan" for immigration detention.

Maintaining the status quo of the federal immigration bureaucracy and its deportation abyss isn't much of a strategy.

In June, 2003, the ICE Detention and Removal unit (DRO) released a ten-year strategic plan called Endgame. In the plan, DRO Director, Anthony S. Tangeman admits defeat in controlling the division's "non-detained docket."

"Non-detained docket" is ICE's euphemism for the 389,000 (and counting) illegal aliens and criminal alien residents the federal government already let out of custody, whereupon they've disappeared.

The DRO's own report reveals:

"The Detention and Removal program does not have a program to effectively manage its non-detained docket. The appearance rate of individuals released from ICE custody is estimated to be 15 percent and the program does not have the resources to identify, locate, apprehend and process the remaining 85 percent." [Section 2-5, PDF page 16]

Oh. So why not start requesting those resources? Here's an idea - maybe it's time to redirect some of the funds earmarked to provide Muslim chaplains for detainees!

Endgame also candidly admits:

"The Institutional Removal Program (IRP), as currently executed, is inefficient and less effective than it should be . . ." [Section 2-7, PDF page 17]

"The Absconder Apprehension Initiative (AAI) . . . indicated that there is a significant backlog of unexecuted final orders of removal. The National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) will target this backlog by facilitating the apprehension and subsequent removal of those fugitives. The goal over the next ten years will be to eliminate this backlog and to ensure that our efforts in terms of apprehension and removal of fugitive cases equals the number of new cases falling into this category." {Section 4-4, PDF page 32]

In other words, the DRO is going to keep on releasing aliens. The aliens will keep on disappearing. Then the DRO will have to keep on going back out into the field to find them all over again.

The DRO's goal is merely to break even within ten years - while perpetuating the lunacy of the "catch and release" model.

Some plan!

I wonder if any of the great minds in the plan's "Strategic Plan Working Group" (SPWG) ever thought to ask Secretario Ridge to stop this "catch and release" madness once and for all?

Since hardly any non-detained aliens ever show up for their actual deportation, how about this novel concept:


Believe it or not, aside from the woeful lack of detention space and paltry immigration bonds fueling the revolving door, the situation here is not all the DRO's fault.

Let's be sure to give blame where blame is due.

In the failed immigration bureaucracy, all roads lead to the EOIR – the Justice Department's orphaned immigration agency called the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

The number one problem here is the very existence of the EOIR Immigration Court system.

As long as the futile and delay-ridden EOIR process is not abolished altogether - as long as ICE keeps bonding aliens out of DRO detention - and as long as the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) keeps paroling and releasing illegal aliens into the country where they promptly disappear, more and more illegal aliens will materialize in the American heartland every day.

And the madness will continue.

Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of

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