Hagerty, Cramer, Colleagues Raise Concerns Over Biden Admin’s Mass Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

June 13, 2024

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), along with 19 other Senate Republican colleagues, in sending a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland questioning the Administration’s dismissal of asylum cases and highlighting the erosive effect of these policies on the U.S. legal immigration system.

Recent reports revealed the Administration granted thousands of illegal immigrants “mass amnesty” by terminating more than 350,000 asylum cases in a two-year period. This change in practice was instituted by a 2022 memo from ICE Principal Legal Adviser Kerry Doyle, instructing agency prosecutors to advise immigration judges on nonpriority cases suitable for dismissal. As a result, the report indicates 102,550 cases were dismissed in 2022, followed by 149,000 in 2023, and 113,843 cases in the first four months of 2024, compared to just over 26,000 during the entire Trump Administration. Since 2021, 77% of asylum seekers have been allowed to remain in the United States, according to a study published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

The letter criticizes President Biden, arguing the action is “too little, too late,” and an implicit admission the Administration possesses the authority to correct the problem.

Further, the letter seeks to ensure transparency and accountability and requests detailed responses regarding the Administration’s handling of immigration and border security. The senators raised several questions about the Administration’s actions, including the accuracy of the reported figures, the justification for the “precedent-breaking” surge in dismissals, and the measures in place to prevent this policy from incentivizing illegal immigration and compromising national security.

“This administration’s approach has consistently downplayed the severity of the border crisis, initially denying its existence, then reluctantly acknowledging it, and now attempting to address it through inadequate measures,” the Senators wrote. “The repeated failures in border management under your leadership have led to an unprecedented backlog of 3.5 million asylum cases, posing a substantial burden on our immigration system and increasing the risk of criminal activities by illegal aliens.”

“The American people deserve transparency and accountability regarding the administration’s handling of immigration and border security. The current state of affairs at our southern border is unacceptable and demands immediate and effective solutions. We urge you to provide a comprehensive response to these questions and outline a clear plan to restore the integrity of our immigration system,” the Senators concluded.

A copy of the letter can be found here.