Audit Faults US Immigration Officials For Arresting, Deporting American Citizens

Audit Faults US Immigration Officials for Arresting, Deporting American Citizens

US immigration officials arrested hundreds and deported dozens of American citizens in the past five years, believing they were illegal immigrants, the General Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report on Tuesday

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 20th July, 2021) US immigration officials arrested hundreds and deported dozens of American citizens in the past five years, believing they were illegal immigrants, the General Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report on Tuesday.

"Available data indicate ICE and CBP took enforcement actions against some U.S. citizens. For example, available ICE data indicate that ICE arrested 674, detained 121, and removed 70 potential US citizens from fiscal year 2015 through the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 (March 2020)," the report said.

GAO conducted an audit based on claims by US citizens that they were mistakenly identified as foreign nationals and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or held by US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) on immigration charges, the report said.

Available ICE data also indicate the agency issued detainers for at least 895 potential US citizens during the five-year period and canceled about 74 percent of those detainers.

Detainers request that jailed individuals in the country illegally remain incarcerated beyond their release dates until Federal agents arrive to begin deportation proceedings.

Problems identified in the report are due in part to inconsistent policies and procedures by both ICE and CBP officers for investigating citizenship claims, as well as a failure by ICE to systematically track encounters in which an individual's citizenship is in question.

Data collection is so poor that ICE does not know the extent to which its officers are taking enforcement actions against individuals who could be US citizens. By systematically collecting and maintaining electronic data, ICE would have better insight into its officers' enforcement of administrative immigration law, according to the report.

The report recommended that ICE update its training materials to reflect consistent procedures regarding potential US citizens, and systematically collect and maintain electronic data of encounters with individuals for whom there is evidence of potential US citizenship.