Senate Republicans vie to Shut Immigration Loopholes

Senate Republicans vie to Shut Immigration Loopholes

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
May 21, 2024

US Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) joined fellow Republicans in filing legislation to redraw immigration regulations being allegedly circumvented by President Joe Biden. 

According to Senator Scott, President Biden’s administration has been manipulating Alternatives to Detention (ATD) regulations to loosen immigration proceedings.

ATD regulations and programs exist to facilitate non-detained immigrants’ orderly US entry or deportation.

ATD has been at the fore of immigration policy discussion since Mohammad Kharwin, an Afghan national on the terrorist watch list, was disenrolled from ATD and subsequently spent 10 months in the US.

Kharwin was ultimately arrested.

Despite approximately 4.5 million noncitizens being overseen on ICE’s non-detained docket as of July 2022, less than 400,000 participated in ATD programs.

ICE’s non-detained docket has risen to nearly seven million while ATD program enrollment has dropped to less than 37,000 as of January 27, 2024.

Scott criticized such low numbers of ATD enrollment and claimed ATD should not be used for immigrants who should be detained.

“I’m proud to cosponsor the Reshape Alternatives to Detention Act, which would end Biden’s illegal alien welfare campaign, stop illegal aliens from roaming freely around the country, and ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement utilizes every available detention bed before resorting to Alternatives to Detention (ATD),” said Scott.

Among other things, the act would require the DHS Secretary to fill all available detention beds before allowing ATD use and increase tracking mechanisms for ATD individuals.

For example, individuals who seek to be enrolled in ATD will have to submit biometric information in order to participate.

Public notice & notification to local law enforcement if an immigrant abandons ATD will also be required.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-majority Senate, but could serve as a model for future legislation.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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