The Biden administration plans to offer some illegal immigrants a temporary ID card that can possibly be used to travel on domestic airlines. The program, called the “ICE Secure Docket Card Program,” is funded with $10 million for the program in the Biden administration’s FY 2023 appropriations bill, which reads, “$10,000,000 for the ICE Secure Docket Card Program to allow non-citizens access to immigration records and documents.” The card will include several details such as name, nationality and a QR code.
The card will apparently be offered to illegal immigrants pending a final decision on their status, two government sources told Axios. The news website reports that the Biden administration wants Congressional approval before October to prevent a possible blockage of the program if Republicans take back the House in November.
“Specifics of the program are still under development, but a primary goal of the SDC is to improve current, inconsistent paper forms that often degrade rapidly in real world use. Pending the outcome of the pilot, ICE will consider further expansion,” a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) told CNN.
Luke Rosiak of the conservative news website Daily Wire had reported in late June that a federal document revealed that the Biden administration had been paying cash or using reimbursements to underage illegal immigrants or their relatives to travel to communities across the country.
Rosiak wrote: “The Department of Health and Human Services document, which deals with settling “unaccompanied minor” illegal immigrants in the U.S., says under the category “Sponsor Travel Support” that U.S. taxpayers will foot the bill if the minor can’t…”
“Historically, [Office of Refugee Resettlement] had a 20% funding cap on travel for sponsors if a sponsor was unable to pay,” the document stated. “This cap has been lifted and supplemental funding requests are now permitted. As of March 22, 2021, ORR can pay for the sponsor, UC [unaccompanied child], or escort’s travel upfront as well as reimbursements.”
In September 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas noted in a memo:
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“The fact an individual is a removable non-citizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them. We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Mayorkas if his statement applied to illegal immigrants who have a final order of removal against them.
“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals,” Mayorkas replied. “I would not necessarily accept the fact that all of them have received due process.”
Jeremy McKinney, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, expressed optimism about the card.
“If ICE is moving in a new direction in which eligible non-citizens can report on their status, provide information about their location and address, receive case management support to help them understand and prepare for hearings, without the need for electronic surveillance or jail cells, AILA welcomes that approach,” McKinney told CNN.