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ICYMI: Arrington Sends Letter to DHS Secretary and ICE Director on Illegal Immigrants Being Released in Abilene

ICYMI: Arrington Sends Letter to DHS Secretary and ICE Director on Illegal Immigrants Being Released in Abilene

—This week, Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tae Johnson demanding answers about reports of illegal immigrants being released from local detention facilities in West Texas and transported to the Abilene community. Rep. Arrington joined KTAB News to discuss the situation in Abilene, as well as how President Biden’s failed immigration policies have caused the crisis raging on our southern border. Learn more about the situation in Abilene here and here

Click here for the full interview.

Click here or see below to read the full letter:

Full letter text:

August 5, 2021

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas


U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528


The Honorable Tae Johnson

Acting Director

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Washington, DC 20536

Dear Secretary Mayorkas and Acting Director Johnson,

I am alarmed and extremely concerned by recent reports of illegal immigrants being released from local detention facilities in West Texas and transported to the Abilene community in my District. It is my understanding that illegal immigrants are arriving at bus stations, the Abilene Airport, and other places within our community where they are free to travel anywhere in the United States.

From his first days in office, President Biden has implemented disastrous immigration policies that encourage illegal immigration, embolden drug cartels, and jeopardize the safety of the American people. Under your leadership and as a result of the Biden Administration’s policies, the United States has ceded control of our southern border to narco-terrorist cartels which, in turn, has created an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis.

The lack of communication and transparency surrounding this process is entirely unacceptable. Your agency failed to notify myself or any other local officials of these activities, leaving us unable to answer the concerns of our constituents in the communities we represent.

West Texans deserve to know about these decisions affecting their community, and I expect immediate answers to the following questions:

  • How many illegal immigrants have been released from local detention facilities and transported to Abilene, and under what conditions are they released?
  • Are illegal immigrants arriving in Abilene for the sole purpose of traveling elsewhere, or is Abilene the final destination for any of these illegal immigrants?
  • Is your agency tracking every illegal immigrant released to ensure they arrive at the appropriate destination?
  • Who is paying for the flights and bus tickets of these individuals leaving from Abilene?
  • Are you able to validate the identity and place of origin of every illegal immigrant released?
  • Is every illegal immigrant tested for COVID-19 before being released into the Big Country?
  • With the Delta variant spreading rapidly throughout Texas and the nation, what is the protocol for an illegal immigrant who tests positive for COVID-19?
  • What is your protocol for informing local officials of the release of illegal immigrants into their communities?
  • Are you conducting criminal background checks, utilizing both the US crime database and the equivalent in the individual’s country of origin, for every individual released into Abilene?
  • Are all released individuals expected to appear in court and what is the current estimated timeframe for Notices to Appear?

I want to be clear: President Biden and Vice President Harris have utterly failed to fulfill their sacred constitutional duty to “faithfully execute the laws of the land” and “provide for a common defense.” You and the Biden Administration have enabled an enormous human and drug trafficking operation, as well as a massive flow of gangs and criminals into our country, making a mockery of our laws, our Constitution, and our sovereignty.

While the Biden Administration has shown no concern for the lawlessness and chaos they have created, the people of West Texas want nothing to do with this catastrophe. This Administration’s decision to “catch and release” illegal immigrants into communities in the Big Country is a threat to my constituents and entirely unacceptable. I am calling on you and President Biden to immediately end this reckless and irresponsible practice in West Texas and throughout the country. Do your job and secure the border, enforce the law, and protect your fellow citizens.  

I would appreciate your quick attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days.


Congressman Jodey Arrington is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. He serves as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.