The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a plan to locate and begin proceedings against the 78,000 migrants the agency willfully let enter the country.
ICE will begin “Operation Horizon” on Monday, which is the agency’s plan to begin the deportation process for 78,000 migrants who the agency did not immediately process for deportation, according to a CBS report.
Typically, when migrants are not immediately deported or held in detention, they are released and regularly provided with “notices to appear.” These are notices for the migrant to appear in a court hearing to determine whether they must face deportation or remain in the country.
However, immigration officials stopped providing migrants with notices to appear in March of this year, citing a lack of resources and a massive influx of migrants crossing the border.
ICE’s data shows they apprehended over 1.7 million migrants during the fiscal year 2021, which ended in September. In addition, Syracuse University researchers found that immigration courts within the country had a backlog of 1,457,615 pending cases.
Instead of giving these migrants the formal Notice to Appear, officials gave them “notices to report.” Notices to report are different from notices to appear because they are less formal and do not begin an official court proceeding. Rather, these informal notices to report instruct the migrants to arrive at their closest ICE office within 60 days.
CBS reported on an internal government document regarding these notices, saying, “issuing a Notice to Appear takes between 60 and 90 minutes.”
According to CNBC, “as of September, CBP had released over 107,000 migrants with notices to report rather than formal notices to appear in court.” However, they added that close to 28 percent of the migrants did not report to ICE within the allotted 60-day grace period.
Under Operation Horizon, ICE will send legal documents to 78,000 migrants who were released into the country on “prosecutorial discretion.” Among these documents are notices to appear.