Democrats demand DHS not re-detain illegal migrants as coronavirus pandemic ebbs

Democrats demand DHS not re-detain illegal migrants as coronavirus pandemic ebbs
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Some progressive Democrats sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas with a demand that illegal migrants who were released from holding facilities due to COVID concerns not be re-detained as the pandemic fades. This group is led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. It is not a surprise that she is leading the charge, given her history in the Abolish ICE chorus.


The ability for the coronavirus pandemic to rapidly spread among large groups of people caused the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to release thousands of illegal migrants. Federal courts ruled that due to public health concerns, the government had to reduce the number of migrants held in detention facilities. There were plenty of Libertarians who sided with the progressives on this subject. The flood of migrants illegally crossing the southern border brought COVID positive people into border states. Border Patrol personnel are unable to keep up with testing the migrants when they are captured because of the overwhelming number of them. So, many are sent to shelters and holding facilities without a COVID test.

Thanks to Joe Biden’s border crisis, there is a shortage of space available for detaining migrants. Many were released to ease overcrowded facilities. Now Jayapal and her fellow progressives want to make sure that the migrants are not re-detained as the threat of super spreader events from large crowds eases. They call on lawmakers to write policy that would assure the migrants of unlimited freedom.

Dozens of lawmakers, led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), praised the administration’s decision to release the migrants but urged it to not backtrack given the improving national conditions regarding the pandemic.

“We respectfully request that DHS and ICE take prompt action to ensure that there is a clear policy regarding individuals who have been released from detention due to COVID-19, and that no one is re-detained solely as a result of our nation’s recovery from the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and ICE acting Director Tae Johnson.

“In addition, we request that DHS and ICE ensure that health and safety measures, releases from custody, and vaccination protocols are reviewed, improved, and enacted at detention facilities to ensure robust protections for those that remain detained.”


The open borders crowd are in luck – Joe Biden has no intention of leveling consequences for illegal migrants as they flood the southern border. He’s been encouraging such behavior since his days on the presidential campaign trail. The migrants know that if they just wait it out a while, they will receive blanket amnesty as the Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the White House. If Team Biden and the Democrats are on the ball, they can do all kinds of damage to immigration laws in the next three years. The only hope for putting on some brakes on their wild fever dreams of open borders and boundaries for sovereign nations is for Republicans to at least win back control of the House, ideally also winning back control of the Senate.

DHS Secretary Mayorkas is in full denial of Biden’s border crisis. To admit there is one would be to have to admit the Biden administration’s complete incompetency in handling the situation. Team Biden continues to insist the border is closed and that it is under control. Those claims are laughable. Perhaps the White House should play a little Fox News every now and then. That cable network is the only one with complete coverage of the humanitarian and public safety crisis on the southern border. Their reporters are doing yeoman work, the kind of journalistic curiosity that professionals are supposed to have. The other networks are under the thumb of DNC talking points and sheltering Biden from criticism.


The Democrats praised Mayorkas for closing two detention centers that have been under investigation recently.

As a result of the conditions of confinement in ICE detention facilities and the risk of spread in congregate settings, federal courts nationwide have ordered ICE to release thousands of
people from custody to ensure their safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate that ICE has also released many more individuals, including those who are medically vulnerable,
as a matter of agency discretion.7 The overwhelming majority of these individuals are now living safely at home with their families, with clear improvements to their health. They are now
providing valuable support to their communities and loved ones, in compliance with the terms of their release, posing no danger to the community.8

These formerly detained people, however, continue to live with the constant fear of redetention by ICE. ICE’s position regarding the re-detention of people released due to COVID-19
has been inconsistent across individual Field Offices, causing great uncertainty for formerly detained people. In some commendable instances, ICE has agreed not to re-detain anyone
released as a result of COVID-19 related litigation.9 In other instances, however, ICE stated that the agency has not yet come to a decision regarding re-detention, or has actively argued for the
re-detention of people previously released by court order solely due to the availability of vaccines and decreased community spread, not as a result of an individualized determination of
public safety threat or ability to comply with the terms of release.10

As of now, there seems to be no clear indication as to the Agency’s position regarding re-detention of medically vulnerable people released as a result of a nationwide class action suit.11


Besides closing facilities, progressive Democrats want to limit what ICE can do to enforce consequences for illegal behavior and hope that this will eventually lead to the destruction of ICE without actually having to look like an Abolish Ice victory. Chipping away at it until ICE no longer functions as an agency is the playbook now. The left has chosen to put illegal migrants over American citizens’ safety. Joe Biden is fine with that. Jayapal and her cohorts claim it is not acceptable for ICE to re-detain migrants who were released due to concerns about the pandemic to now be held again as the pandemic ebbs. That makes no sense. They were released solely due to the pandemic, allegedly. That is reason enough to re-detain them when the pandemic becomes less of a threat.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on December 07, 2023