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IRLI: Biden Administration Conceals Criminal Alien Identities

Chris Agee
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Earlier this month, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agency is accused of refusing to provide information about its policy regarding disclosure of the identities of criminal illegal aliens apprehended in the U.S. The lawsuit is based on unfulfilled requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  

Historically, ICE disclosed the identities of nearly all criminal aliens in their communications. Under the Trump administration, 97% were named. Since Joe Biden assumed office, that figure has fallen to only 67%.  

IRLI’s investigation into this matter highlights a disturbing trend toward less openness, with recent press releases from ICE omitting crucial details. One cited press release described the arrest of an unidentified illegal alien from Ecuador, previously convicted of felony charges, including second-degree assault and indecent assault of a child in Connecticut. For reasons that are not known to the public, the offender’s identity has been withheld.  

The complaint filed in the case alleges that ICE is being directed to withhold public information to frustrate oversight efforts by public watchdogs and the media. IRLI argues the administration is doing so to shield the federal government from accountability for its immigration enforcement policy decisions.

The number of criminal defendants detained by ICE has increased in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic from historic lows at the beginning of the Biden administration. Despite the increase in detentions, a significant number of illegal aliens with criminal backgrounds remain undetained. As of September 2023, there were over 617,000 aliens on ICE’s non-detained docket who either had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges​. ICE’s reporting policy under the Biden administration is all the more troubling given the huge number of illegal migrants who are criminal defendants and convicts and are roaming around the country.   

“ICE’s sudden decision to omit the names of alien offenders from press releases appears to be a deliberate attempt to keep the public from determining whether dangerous foreign criminals have been removed from the United States,” stated Matt O’Brien, Director of Investigations at IRLI.