An audit by the office of inspector general has uncovered a disturbing fact about Obama’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency that has jeopardized national security: It turns out that ICE agents were not following proper procedures when checking if illegal aliens were known terrorists.
The office of inspector general found that between 2013 and 2015, every single case of a suspected terrorist reviewed by the inspector general included errors.
“ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) faces challenges in implementing the Known or Suspected Terrorist Encounter Protocol (KSTEP) screening process, which is used to identify aliens who may be known or suspected terrorists,” the inspector general said. “Although ERO uses KSTEP to screen all aliens who are in ICE custody, ERO policy does not require continued screening of the approximately 2.37 million aliens when released and under ICE supervision.”
Between 2013 and 2015 there were 142 cases of illegal immigrants who were detained and identified as “known or suspected terrorists.” According to a report in The Washington Free Beacon, the inspector general reviewed only 40 of those cases. And what’s worse was the fact that every one of those files was found to have “at least one instance of noncompliance with KSTEP policy, generating greater concerns regarding the population of aliens screened and determined to have no connections to terrorism,” the inspector general said.
In addition to not following security protocols, the audit revealed that the majority of ICE field offices do not have access to the Department of Homeland Security’s classified networks, which enables them to “communicate about derogatory information related to known or suspected terrorists.”
“As a result, ERO may be missing opportunities to identify, take into custody, communicate status of, and make decisions on those aliens who pose the highest risk to national security and public safety,” the inspector general said.
ICE warned that the problem is continuing into the Trump administration, noting the agency has identified “at least 19 more cases since January 2016 when field personnel did not transmit the required incident reports to ICE headquarters.”
The inspector general blamed lack of infrastructure on the agency’s inability to share real-time information regarding known or suspected terrorists and issued a special warning to so-called sanctuary cities. Local law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with ICE prevent the government from “screening many other criminal aliens” and identifying “possible terrorist connections.”
“When a state or local law enforcement agency declines to transfer custody of a removable criminal alien to ICE, the released alien may put the public and ERO personnel at risk and requires significantly more resources to bring the individual into ICE custody,” the inspector general said.
In agreement with all of the audit’s findings, ICE officials promised to improve the agency’s coordination within its terrorist checking system.
“ICE remains committed to upholding the rule of law and enforcing the immigration laws against those who present a danger to our national security, are a threat to public safety, or who otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration system,” said Stephen A. Roncone, the chief financial officer of ICE.