Oversight Project Sues Biden DHS for Documents on Coordination with NGOs on Shutting Down ICE

Oversight Project Sues Biden DHS for Documents on Coordination with NGOs on Shutting Down ICE

Aug 3, 2022 3 min read

WASHINGTON—The Oversight Project announced today that it is filing a lawsuit against the Biden administration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, demanding the release of any and all documents related to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) coordination with outside non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in crafting the administration’s restrictive guidance for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The guidance was recently enjoined by a federal court.  

This guidance was ICE’s formal attempt to shut down the agency and has led to a historic low in the number of arrests and deportations by ICE, and more than 14,000 criminal aliens being released into U.S. communities last year. At the same time, illegal immigration numbers are at all-time highs. It effectively made it impossible for ICE agents to detain or deport illegal aliens present in the United States unless they are known or suspected terrorists, spies, or convicted aggravated felons.  

The guidance was issued in a September 30, 2021 memo from DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, entitled “Guidelines for Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” also known as the “Mayorkas memo.” It was released after a January 2021 memo from Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske, which mandated a 100-day moratorium on deportations, fulfilling a central campaign pledge by the Biden campaign—a memo against which a temporary restraining order was soon issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  

The “Mayorkas memo” was then released after several rounds of new guidance and subsequent litigation, with DHS touting the memo as the result of “multiple engagements with…a range of stakeholders including law enforcement, civic, and community leaders to inform the new guidance.”  

In July, the Supreme Court declined to overturn a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling staying implementation of the guidance.   

The Oversight Project’s lawsuit asks for documents central to the crafting of this guidance, in order to answer very simple and straightforward questions to which the American people, by law, deserve answers:  

  • Who exactly influenced the shutdown of ICE? 

  • What information did they provide to justify this assault on law enforcement?  

  • How much control of our immigration and border security policies do open borders NGOs really have? 

Tom Homan, Heritage Foundation visiting fellow and former acting ICE director, released the following statement upon the filing of the lawsuit:  

“Americans deserve a secure border, because a secure border saves lives. The Biden administration, however, has opened our borders, and just as shamefully, made it impossible for the men and women of ICE to hold accountable those who break our laws and enter this country illegally. It is a crime to illegally cross America’s sovereign border, and doing so is immediate grounds for removal. However, Secretary Mayorkas has conspired with open-borders advocates in the Biden administration and their allies in the private sector, to make enforcement of this basic law next to impossible. We want to know who DHS has worked with, why, and to what extent they had influence in crafting this guidance. This lawsuit is critical because it will help provide the transparency and awareness necessary to hold Mayorkas and his deputies accountable for this aspect of their open-borders agenda.” 

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