Fox News Digital as well as other independent and mainstream news outlets reported last year on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secure Docket Card program. The agency announced back then that the ID would have a photograph, biographic identifiers, and "cutting-edge" security features. ICE also said then that the program would be considered for further expansion pending the outcome of the pilot. Now, ICE has completed a required pilot notification to Congress.
"The ICE secure docket card concept is a pilot program that would modernize documentation provided to some noncitizens," an ICE spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. "While the specifics of the program are under development, it is important to note the secure card will not be an official form of federal identification. The secure card will indicate it is for use by DHS agencies and would be provided only after national security background checks have been performed."
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At the moment, illegals receive paper documents from the federal government about their immigration status. The agency said that paper docs pose a security risk, are easily lost, and degrade rapidly in real-world use.
Meanwhile, the new ID cards could be used by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at airports or to access public benefits and to check in, and schedule reporting meetings with ICE. The agency hopes that it can be used in the field to easily verify an alien's identity and to see if they are deportable. However, conservatives see the measure as support for Biden's agenda for welcoming, rather than removing, immigrants who were able to come into the country illegally.
"ICE is a federal law enforcement agency, not the [Department of Motor Vehicles] DMV. When will Congress wake up and put an end to these open-borders, anti-enforcement programs that defy the agency's mission and enable the crisis?" RJ Hauman, president of the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE) and a visiting adviser at the Heritage Foundation, said to the media outlet this week. "ICE should be arresting, detaining, and removing those who come here illegally, not doling out social services," he said.
The sentiment matches with the concern expressed by the House Oversight Committee last year, who said they feared that it is "yet another Biden Administration move encouraging illegal immigration by rewarding illegal immigrants for breaking our laws." They also fear that the card will include QR codes that link to court documents and other information that they say raises security concerns "as well as questions regarding the likelihood that significant taxpayer resources will be diverted from immigration enforcement to uploading documents into and maintaining a secure system."
NICE Advisory Board Member John Fabbricatore also said that the ultimate goal of the Biden administration is to limit illegal aliens' face-to-face contact with DHS agents as much as possible. "It's a normalization of illegal immigration," Fabbricatore highlighted.
Critics think that this move should be stopped. Lora Ries, director of the Heritage Foundation's Border Security and Immigration Center, urged the House Republicans to act and stop the implementation of the ID cards for illegals. "Congress needs to get a handle on the Biden administration turning ICE into another social services agency for illegal aliens and return it to a law enforcement agency that enforces the laws Congress made, including detaining and deporting Biden's mass illegal alien population," Ries said.
According to reports, Biden is releasing more than 60,000 border crossers and illegal aliens, on average, into American communities every month. In total, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) estimated that the president and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have welcomed five million border crossers and illegal aliens to the U.S. since early January 2021.
Moreover, this week, Eagle Pass, Texas declared a state of emergency in response to nearly 14,000 asylum seekers flooding the city in less than two weeks. According to Mayor Rolando Salinas, an unprecedented surge of 4,000 illegals crossed the U.S. border on September 20 and a separate 2,500-person mob came into the city illegally on September 18. This is separate from about 7,200 illegal crossers apprehended in the previous week. Furthermore, Rep. Tony Gonzalez, who represents the city in Congress, said that another 3,000 were on track to enter last Thursday, adding that the Border Patrol estimated that by Friday, 10,000 migrants will have illegally entered Eagle Pass. (Related: Migrant TSUNAMI: Eagle Pass declares STATE OF EMERGENCY as nearly 14K border crossers flood the city in less than two weeks – many more to come.)
Salinas said the illegal aliens, mostly from Venezuela, have overrun the only migrant shelter in the border city, Mission Border Hope. "One of the situations is that a lot of these migrants, they're single males and they don’t want to listen to instructions and they’re leaving the facility," the Republican mayor said. "Not all of these people come in peace. We are on pace for this to be the worst of the border crisis yet, and we’ve seen some doozies."
Analysts have blamed the crisis on the Biden administration's policies, including its moves to narrow enforcement priorities for ICE. The administration has said the Congress needs to provide more funding and reform a "broken" immigration system.