A long-awaited study by the Department of Homeland Security under the leadership of President Joe Biden was secretly released on Tuesday evening. Still, the report was backdated to make it appear as though it had been placed online when expected last year.
The government has released its 2020 Entry-Exit Overstay Report, which includes a list of all foreign people in the United States who have overstayed their visas and are no longer permitted to stay. Two months after the Washington Free Beacon reported on the administration’s refusal to post the information, the report was released. The executive branch is legally required to produce annually to Congress and has been rapidly shared with the public. The analysis had been delivered to a select group of members of Congress, but it had not yet been made public, which was a substantial departure from past transparency standards.
The report was not released until January 4, 2022. However, the DHS website shows it was uploaded on September 30, 2021, the date it was submitted to Congress. When the report was first delivered to Congress, it was posted on the DHS website as “released.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill were enraged that the administration withheld the data during negotiations over White House spending requests to disguise the number of migrants who could be granted amnesty under the president’s Build Back Better plan. In December, Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and James Lankford (R-OK) demanded its publication.
“We are concerned that DHS did not post the FY 2020 Entry-Exit Overstay Report on a public website to avoid complicating the conversation surrounding the Democrats’ partisan reconciliation package’s Plan C amnesty ideas,” Hawley and Lankford wrote. “Plan C” amnesty is the third attempt by Democratic lawmakers to include immigration reform in their budget reconciliation package.
The newly released 2020 report has the “highest ‘suspected in-country overstay rate’ of any public report,” an immigration expert told the Free Beacon. The DHS reported 584,885 visa overstays in 2018, compared to 497,272 in 2019.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is an anomaly compared to the prevailing trend” of declining overstays. We will continue to publish this report at least annually,” Mayorkas wrote, ignoring the fact that no report was published last year.
Those recognized in the report as prospective visa overstays may not be deported. According to Congress, “the large annual in-country alien overstays threaten national security and the integrity of legal immigration.” Trump directed DHS to “engage with the governments of countries with high total overstay rates” in an April 2019 executive order.