Saturday, May 25, 2024

House Republicans seek transparency on number of foreign nationals in U.S. illegally

A group of 17 Congressional Republicans led by U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is calling on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to provide information on “the total number of illegal aliens currently residing within the United States.”

In a letter to Mayorkas, whom they voted to impeach in February, the Republican lawmakers argue, “The American people deserve an exact accounting of the number of illegal aliens residing in the country, especially if the federal government’s policies have caused that number to surge since the previous estimate.”

The estimate they’re referring to was published in April 2021 by the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics: “Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2015-January 2018.” It states that from January 2018 through January 2021, 11.4 million illegal aliens resided in the U.S.

A Pew Research report estimated the total was more than 10.4 million; a Yale-MIT study estimates it’s as high as 29 million.

Since January 2021, more than 11 million foreign nationals are estimated to have illegally entered the U.S., The Center Square reported, including those who evaded capture referred to as “gotaways.”

Under Mayorkas, every fiscal year, a record number of illegal border crossers are reported, each time breaking previous records. In the first six months of fiscal 2024, more than 1.7 million illegal border crossers were reported, the highest number in U.S. history for that time period, The Center Square reported.

The coalition estimates that “at least 4.7 million illegal aliens have been released into the interior under the Biden Administration’s policies” and requested Mayorkas immediately update the 2021 report using the most recent data available. The number they cite excludes gotaways, which total an estimated more than 2 million since January 2021, The Center Square has reported. Officials have explained to The Center Square that gotaways are under-reported by 10% to 20%.

The coalition estimates that “at least 6.5 million illegal aliens have entered the United States since this administration took office.”

They also point to Mayorkas policies they argue facilitated the release of an unprecedented number of illegal foreign nationals into the country, including restricting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from arresting and removing them; releasing them from custody instead of physically detaining them until their court hearing; and extending Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure for nationalities who otherwise under the law are inadmissible. The House Committee on Homeland Security identified these directives as illegal in their charge to impeach Mayorkas, The Center Square reported.

The coalition asks for information, including an “updated number of aliens who evaded capture at the southern, northern, and coastal borders;” how many overstayed their visas; how many were paroled and released into the country; and how many are TPS beneficiaries, enrolled in DED and are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.

The GOP representatives also requested information on how many were released into the interior of the U.S. who received a Notice to Appear or Notice to Report documents; how many were removed from the U.S.; were ordered to be removed by an immigration judge but are still in the U.S. illegally; were ordered to be removed in absentia because they didn’t show up to their immigration court hearing; and are considered fugitives by ICE.

The coalition includes fellow Texans Brian Babin, Michael Cloud, Morgan Luttrell, Keith Self, and Randy Weber. It also includes representatives Mary Miller of Illinois, Bob Good and Ben Cline of Virginia, Nicole Malliotakis and Anthony D’Esposito of New York, Daniel Webster and Aaron Bean of Florida, Rich McCormick of Georgia, Nancy Mace and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, and Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin.

After Republicans in the House impeached Mayorkas, Senate Democrats dismissed the charges for the first time in Senate history. Last month, after record illegal entries continued to be reported, Mayorkas admitted a border crisis exists but remains resolute in administering his policies.