The U.S. Border Patrol alters statistics involving the apprehension of criminal illegal immigrants to conceal that thousands are being released, a new federal audit reveals. The frontline Homeland Security agency charged with preventing terrorists and weapons—including those of mass destruction—from entering the country also skews figures to drastically deflate the high recidivism rate of aliens caught entering the U.S.
The distressing details of this crucial agency’s crafty record-keeping practices are outlined in a scathing report issued this month by the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The probe focuses on a Border Patrol system developed to address a smuggling crisis along the southwest border. It’s officially known as Consequence Delivery System (CDS) and is used to identify the most effective and efficient consequences to deter illegal cross border activity in each of the agency’s sectors. For the system to work, the Border Patrol must report accurate information involving illegal aliens who are apprehended.
Instead, it appears that federal agents on the ground are being ordered to fudge the numbers as part of a broader Obama administration effort to protect illegal immigrants and falsely portray the Mexican border as safe. The GAO report suggests that Border Patrol headquarters directed agents to misclassify criminal illegal aliens, presumably to hide the fact that they were being released instead of prosecuted. Officials interviewed as part of the probe “said that agents received oral direction from headquarters to reclassify criminal aliens who cannot be given a consequence of federal prosecution, and that written data integrity guidance to sectors did not include activities for checking the accuracy of alien classifications,” the GAO report states.
The misclassification of apprehended illegal immigrants resulted in nearly 4,000 criminal aliens being returned to their home country rather than prosecuted between 2013 and 2015, the GAO found. After analyzing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data, congressional investigators determined that an astounding 94% (109,080) of the 116,409 aliens given a consequence of warrant or notice to appear still had an open case and “may remain in the United States.” Thousands more escaped criminal prosecution because they were not properly classified. “Specifically, of the approximate 15,000 apprehensions of criminal aliens who were not classified according to CDS guidance between fiscal years 2013 and 2015, 8 percent were recommended for criminal prosecution (3,912 apprehensions) compared to 47 percent of all criminal aliens during that timeframe,” the GAO writes.
In some cases, Department of Justice (DOJ) restrictions limit the number of illegal aliens that can be referred for prosecution, the report says. This leaves agents in a bind and hesitant to apply consequences that require referral to federal partners. Here’s an example: “Rio Grande Valley sector officials said that while agents apprehended over 129,000 aliens in fiscal year 2015, the sector can only refer about 40 immigration-related cases each day to the corresponding USAO District (Southern District of Texas) for prosecution. Once this daily limit is reached, agents must apply an alternative consequence that is not the Most Effective and Efficient as defined by the CDS guide.”
Recidivism numbers are kept down by using an unscrupulous system that only classifies an apprehended illegal alien as recidivist if he or she had been previously caught within a fiscal year. The system doesn’t account for immigrants with no record of removal after apprehension and who may have remained in the United States without the opportunity to recidivate. The Border Patrol guidance also states that a first-time apprehension classification may be used on an alien that has been apprehended by another agency. Congressional investigators determined that the Border Patrol system slashed recidivism numbers in half. In one outrageous case cited in the report an “alien apprehended 54 times in the Rio Grande Valley sector between October 2012 and May 2015 was classified as a First Time Apprehension 6 times.”