Staggering figures have emerged as a result of Senator Ted Cruz’s inquiries to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director, Sarah Saldana.
The questions centered on how much the agency has spent over the last two years on a controversial program implemented by ICE which transports unaccompanied children to the southern border to relatives inside the Unites States.
The total figure comes out to just over $18.5 million dollars in paid flights and travel costs. What is staggering is that previous reviews of the program show many of the families receiving the unaccompanied minors were themselves in the country illegally.
When pressed for an exact number of trips paid for, the agency stalled, saying it would take time to get that kind of information to lawmakers. They estimate it is somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000 cases.
A Senate aide, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke with FoxNews.com:
“This shows how fundamentally flawed our approach to immigration enforcement has been in the Obama administration,” says the Senate aide who has seen the questions and answers from ICE Director Sarah Saldana.
“This admission by ICE demonstrates that the United States is a party to countless conspiracies by illegal aliens to violate our immigration laws, by facilitating their illegal journey into the United States,” the Senate aide said.
This information comes on the heels of the realization that in the fiscal year of 2015, ICE managed to remove only 1 percent of immigrants who overstayed their visas. And that figure only covers the specific visa used for short term visiting; it does not include any of the other sorts of visas routinely abused.
Earlier this month, a whistle-blower from within the agency sent a report to the Office of Special Counsel detailing the gross abuse and mismanagement of funds by the ERO (Enforcement and Removals Operations), a division within ICE.
“The situation I now report has been ongoing for years, and the abuses clearly threaten the mission readiness of a federal law enforcement agency with a key public safety and national security mission,” the whistle blower writes. “The estimated amount of fraud, waste and abuse in one year is $12.5M – $27.5M. The estimated number of ICE ERO supervisors involved is between 250-500.”
The whistle-blower goes on to expose how ERO managers routinely use funds to purchase luxury vehicles for their personal use and travel, which is not approved of for other federal employees.
“Additionally, each manager is provided a government fuel card so that he/she is able to purchase essentially unlimited amounts of taxpayer funded fuel. Conservative estimates indicate that taxpayers are paying approximately $5,000 per manager each year in fuels costs, not including unknown costs for tires, oil changes, car washes and other maintenance. These managers have no mission need to have these vehicles and instead use them primarily to commute between work and home each day. Meanwhile, officers in the field don’t have vehicles to perform ICE ERO’s law enforcement mission because the vehicles have been issued to ICE managers for their personal use and financial benefit.”
He also warns of retaliation from his managers if he, and others who share his concern, were to have their identities exposed – a practice seen repeatedly in agencies from the DHS, TSA, and on down.
One thing is certain; these problems will ultimately be compounded under a Clinton presidency. Clinton has already promised to expand on president Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, as well as focus on overhauling the path to citizenship in her first 100 days in office.
Opponents claim her immigration proposals would be “de facto” amnesty.