Biden Administration Immigrants cross the Rio Grande in September / Reuters
• November 29, 2021 6:01 pm
The Biden administration has yet to publicly disclose critical information on the number of illegal immigrants in the United States, a violation of congressional guidance and a departure from federal transparency standards.
The Department of Homeland Security has given Congress its report on the number of foreign nationals who remain in the United States on expired visas, but the information has not been subsequently released to the public, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. Stretching back to at least the Obama administration, DHS has made the annual report on suspected visa overstays available to the public shortly after giving it to Congress.
Requests for comment to various agencies within DHS on the report went unanswered. Congress has mandated that the report is released online to the public, out of concern that “the large number of annual in-country alien overstays threatens national security and the integrity of legal immigration.”
The Biden administration’s failure to post the report comes as it faces an all-time high surge of migrants on the southern border. DHS has repeatedly failed to answer lawmaker questions about the criminal histories of migrants allowed entry or where those migrants have been resettled.
The failure to post the report is consistent with the administration’s dramatic changes to avoid stigmatizing the illegal immigrant population, such as banning the term alien from federal government literature, according to former immigration officials.
“For whatever reason, it appears political appointees are not disclosing a report produced by career subject matter experts,” said former Immigration and Customs Enforcement senior adviser Jon Feere. “It’s consistent with the Biden administration’s general hostility to transparency.”
“The Biden policies are a slap in the face to all State Department employees—the message is that all foreigners can ignore visa adjudicators and stay as long as they’d like,” Feere said.
Under the Immigration and Naturalization Service Data Management Improvement Act of 2000, the federal government is legally required to prepare an annual report on the number of foreign nationals who are suspected of overstaying their visas. That report must also be submitted to the House and Senate as part of a bipartisan effort to better track abuses in the country’s immigration system.
Subsequent appropriations bills for the Department of Homeland Security require the agency to post these reports publicly. For five years, starting under the Obama administration, DHS complied with the provision. The report was posted on DHS’s website each year under former president Donald Trump.
The report, officially called the Entry/Exit Overstay Report, provides an exact accounting of foreign travelers no longer authorized to live in the United States by using arrival, departure, and visa information through various agencies within DHS and the State Department. The identification of those individuals illegally living in the United States does not, importantly, necessarily result in deportation proceedings.
The Free Beacon reached out to every House and Senate office copied on the 2019 report, the last one made available to the public. None of the offices, including outspoken critics of Biden’s immigration policy such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), would offer comment. The office of Rep. Kay Granger (R., Texas) confirmed she received the 2020 report but also would not comment on its findings.
Democrats hope to use their budget reconciliation plan to expand the number of foreigners authorized to work in the United States. Critics of the immigration provisions in the bill say they could lead to the issuance of hundreds of thousands of visas, and offer permanent residency to over half a million visa holders already in the United States.