Based on the internal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) documents, the number of removals are actually down, the opposite of what the administration has been claiming.
According to the committee’s review, in 2011 officials at the Department of Homeland Security began including the number of individuals removed through the Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) in its annual removal numbers. ATEP is a program which moves apprehended illegal immigrants to another point along the border.
The committee chair claims that counting those individuals as removals is misleading because there are no repercussions for illegal immigrants who are deported through the program, and they can simply try to re-enter.
“It is dishonest to count illegal immigrants apprehended by the Border Patrol along the border as ICE removals,” Smith explained in a statement. “And these ‘removals’ from the Border Patrol program do not subject the illegal immigrant to any penalties or bars for returning to the U.S. This means a single illegal immigrant can show up at the border and be removed numerous times in a single year — and counted each time as a removal.”
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