Hagerty, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Reform ATD, Force Biden Admin to Combat Illegal Immigration

May 17, 2024

Currently, the Biden Administration is abusing ATD by not filling every detention bed and allowing illegal aliens to roam free throughout America. Rep. Byron Donalds is leading the effort in the U.S. House of Representatives

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) yesterday led his colleagues in introducing the Reshape Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Act, legislation to stop the Biden Administration’s abuse of ATD, in part by requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to utilize every available detention bed before resorting to ATD, and ensuring that illegal aliens on the non-detained docket are enrolled in ATD and GPS monitoring for the duration of their immigration proceedings. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rick Scott (R-FL), and JD Vance (R-OH). Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL-19) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Instead of prioritizing the safety of Americans by requiring GPS monitoring of every illegal alien that cannot be detained in a custodial setting, President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas are acting on the wishes of “Abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)” groups by trying to turn ATD into a social services program using the Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP) and Young Adult Case Management Program (YACMP).

Biden’s DHS has resorted to monitoring illegal aliens for only a short period of time after they illegally enter the U.S. and then allowing them to roam free. The dangers of this are highlighted by the case of Mohammad Kharwin, an Afghan national on the terrorist watch list. Kharwin was only subject to GPS monitoring for a little over two weeks before being removed from ATD and spending 10 months in the U.S. without any monitoring.

As of January 27, 2024, only 189,780 individuals were even enrolled in the ATD Program. Even fewer, 36,931 individuals, are currently occupying ICE detention beds. Meanwhile, under the Biden Administration, the non-detained docket has swelled to nearly seven million.

“The Biden Administration has allowed a tidal wave of illegal aliens to come across our southern border, which has created an unprecedented national security and humanitarian crisis,” said Senator Hagerty. “Yet rather than use all available tools to address the issue, Biden’s DHS is refusing to enforce the laws already on the books and making clear efforts to dismantle detention and allow illegal immigrants to roam free throughout the U.S. by abusing ATD. I’m pleased to introduce legislation to require the Administration to combat record-high illegal immigration and help secure our southern border.”

“Since his first day in office, President Biden has refused to enforce the law by releasing millions of illegal immigrants – including those with terrorist ties – into our country,” said Senator Blackburn. “The Alternatives to Detention Program was not designed to allow illegal immigrants to roam freely across the country, and the Reshape ATD Act would end the Biden administration’s abuse of this program once and for all.”

“Instead of prioritizing the safety and security of Americans, the Biden administration has been releasing illegal aliens into the interior of Texas and the United States,” said Senator Cruz. “It is utterly shameless that Joe Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas have left detention beds empty for years, instead focusing on getting American tax dollars into their hands of illegal aliens as quickly as possible.  We’ve gone from the lowest rate of illegal immigration in 45 years under Trump, to the border security crisis we have today, all because of Joe Biden.  I am proud to work with my colleagues to require illegal aliens be kept in custody and that every detention bed be filled. Enough is enough.”

“Joe Biden’s backward border policies have encouraged illegal immigrants to come across the border and allowed many of them to roam freely in our country,” said Senator Daines. “We must protect Montana communities by empowering ICE to do their job by detaining and monitoring illegal immigrants while their immigration proceedings play out.”

“Under Joe Biden, the DHS’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program has been used as a ploy to appease open border advocates and advance leftist ideology,” said Senator Marshall. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will address the abuse and corruption by the Biden Administration of this detention program.”

“President Biden has used every tool at his disposal to encourage illegal immigration and force American taxpayers to fund services for illegal aliens while our citizens struggle with record inflation, crime and fentanyl crisis,” said Senator Rick Scott. “Enough is enough. I’m proud to cosponsor the Reshape Alternatives to Detention Act, which would end Biden’s illegal alien welfare campaign, stop illegal aliens from roaming freely around the country, and ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement utilizes every available detention bed before resorting to Alternatives to Detention (ATD). I urge the Senate to quickly pass this good legislation and take action every day that forces Biden to secure the border.”

The Reshape Alternatives to Detention Act would:

  • Terminate and defund President Biden’s CMPP & the YACMP—all funding will be transferred for additional detention beds;
  • Require the DHS Secretary to fill all available detention beds before allowing using ATD;
  • Reaffirm that ICE has complete authority over aliens on the non-detained docket (including those enrolled in ATD)—without interference from DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties;
  • Require all ISAP participants be tracked via GPS during the individual’s entire immigration proceeding;
  • Make the FERM program mandatory for all family units that cross into the United States illegally;
  • Require public notice & notification to local law enforcement if an alien absconds from ATD;
  • Prohibit DHS from placing an alien on ATD if they plan to move to a sanctuary jurisdiction;
  • Require all ISAP participants to “check in” with the DHS Secretary, or face immediate deportation ad infinitum; and
  • Require that individuals who seek to be enrolled in ATD submit biometric information in order to participate.

Full text of the Reshape Alternatives to Detention Act can be found here.