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ICE Announces New Measures to be More 'Transparent' at the Border

ICE Agent

The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, announced Thursday their latest enforcement and removal operations at the southern border and ways to make their numbers more accessible.

During a press conference, ICE officials said going forward their statistics on arrests, deportations and detentions will be much more transparent and easier for the media and others to access than in years past. 

"We've undertaken quite a process that requires us to find ways to make years of accumulated data more accessible, usable, and valuable so we can enhance how we share data with the public," ICE Director Patrick Lechleitner told reporters. "We're doing this as part of a larger effort to ensure transparency with all of our stakeholders."

Lechleitner says one way they're doing this is through ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Statistics dashboard.

It includes metrics on arrests, detention and alternatives to detention or an ETD as well as removals dating back to fiscal year 2021. 

"Anyone can access this dashboard and it's easy to use. For example, if you want to see how many removals were conducted in the first quarter of this fiscal year, you could go to ice.gov/statistics and use the interactive dashboard to learn that ICE removed nearly 66,000 people during that time, which is a significant increase over the same quarter last year," Lechleitner said. 

Former New York Homeland Security Advisor Michael Balboni, of Redland Strategies says while transparency is important, it's not enough.

"Are they going to show the efforts to bring people back and deport them? Are they going to show that they've stopped a number of people at the border; are those the numbers going to show?" he asked. 

Balboni says there needs to be a multi-pronged attack.

"We have to really partner with Mexico. We have to incentivize them to essentially be the front lines for the United States. So, we push the border back and we work with them," Balboni said.

"It's not just about illegals being here, it's about the drugs that are coming across the border. And so, we have a national security interest. That's the first thing. The second thing is you need to build this wall. You need to finish the wall," he continued. 

Balboni adds more resources are needed at the border including detention centers that can hold thousands of people. He said if it were up to him local police and states would be given more authority to help on the border. 

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