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Archived Content

In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

Myth vs. Fact

We have seen reporters, Members of Congress, and other groups mislead the public on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policies. This page will be updated regularly.

Federal law enforcement officers have sworn duties to enforce the laws that Congress passes.  Repeating intentionally untrue and unsubstantiated statements about DHS agents, officers, and procedures is irresponsible and deeply disrespectful to the men and women who risk their lives every day to secure our border and enforce our laws.

MYTH: ICE allows for the transportation of detainees under inhumane conditions

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: ICE has zero tolerance for inappropriate and inhumane treatment of anyone we encounter, under any circumstance.  Every step possible is taken to ensure that these individuals are provided with food, water, restroom breaks and that they are processed as quickly as possible.

MYTH: DHS does not provide language translators

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: Both ICE and CBP have Language Access Plans in place to provide access to individuals with limited English proficiency. These plans include a process to identify the language spoken and the use of interpreters, either in-person or telephonically.

MYTH: ICE intimidates detainees into signing documents to separate them from their children

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: Asking parents in ICE custody, who are subject to a final order of removal, to make a decision about being removed with or without their children, is part of long-standing policy. For parents who have a final order of removal, and whose children have not received a final order, it is the parent’s decision whether to return with or without their children. ICE accommodates, to the extent practicable, the parent’s efforts to make provisions for the children. As appropriate, ICE will work with the parent to have the child return with the parent to their country of citizenship.  When a child is in the care and custody of HHS/ORR, ICE works with ORR to reunite the parent and child and with the consulate to assist the parent with obtaining a travel document for the child.  Alternatively, a parent may opt to have ORR pursue release of the child to another parent, guardian, or sponsor who has been approved by ORR.  ICE does not interfere in the parent’s decision to allow the child to remain in the U.S. to pursue his or her own legal claim.

When parents are removed without their children, ICE, ORR, and the consulates work together to coordinate the return of a child and transfer of custody to the parent or foreign government upon arrival in country, in accordance with repatriation agreements between the U.S. and other countries. Unaccompanied children often are received by the country’s child welfare agency, who facilitate the reunification. When possible, ORR and ICE coordinate with in-country repatriation programs, which provide services to returned, unaccompanied children.

MYTH: ICE makes arrests at sensitive locations like schools and hospitals

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: ICE policy states that enforcement actions at sensitive locations, such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship, should generally be avoided. This policy is intended to enhance public understanding and trust in ICE’s enforcement actions and to ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or use services provided at sensitive locations are free to do so without fear or hesitation. ICE policy does not consider courthouses as a sensitive location.

MYTH: ICE should obtain judicial arrest warrants to take custody of aliens

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation directing ICE to seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. The authority to issue an administrative arrest warrant has been granted to Executive Branch officials by Congress and that authority has been delegated to certain immigration officers (8 CFR 236.1). In an attempt to undermine immigration enforcement, many sanctuary policies and related rulings fail to recognize this lawful process established by Congress and instead seek to impose a requirement for which there is no legal authority.

MYTH: ICE Family Residential Centers do not provide medical care for detainees

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: As detailed in a DHS Inspector General’s report, the family residential centers are “clean, well-organized, and efficiently run.” Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment families arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay. Everyone receives medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care. Pursuant to our commitment to the welfare of those in the agency’s custody, ICE annually spends more than $250 million on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to detainees.

MYTH: DHS is turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: CBP processes all aliens arriving at all ports of entry without documents as expeditiously as possible without negatively affecting the agency's primary mission to protect the American public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the nation’s economic competitiveness through facilitating legitimate trade and travel.

As the number of arriving aliens determined to be inadmissible at ports of entry continues to rise, CBP must prioritize its limited resources to ensure its primary mission is being executed.  Depending on port circumstances at the time of arrival, CBP officials will allocate the necessary resources to its primary mission and operate appropriate access controls and queue management procedures for those arriving aliens without proper travel documents.    

MYTH: DHS separates families who entered at the ports of entry and who are seeking asylum – even though they have not broken the law

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: If an adult enters at a port of entry and claims asylum, they will not face prosecution for illegal entry. DHS does have a responsibility to protect minors we apprehend and will only separate in three circumstances, as previous Administrations have done:1) when DHS is unable to determine the familial relationship, 2) when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian, or 3) when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.

MYTH: Checkpoints are unconstitutional and equivalent to a warrantless search

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: As the Supreme Court recognized in United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976), immigration checkpoints are both a constitutional and necessary law enforcement tool to determine the immigration status of all individuals passing through the checkpoint during its hours of operation. 

USBP checkpoints, both fixed and temporary, are a proven, effective layer in our multi-layered approach to securing the border and interdicting unlawful entry.  Checkpoints are strategically placed where potentially illegal cross border traffic is most likely to converge as it makes egress away from the border into the United States.  Travelers in vehicles are briefly questioned as to their citizenship to ensure those out of status are prevented from further entry into the interior of the country in violation of U.S. immigration laws.  USBP also makes significant seizures of illegal drugs at checkpoints each month.  In FY 2017, agents apprehended over 6,000 illegal aliens and seized over 75,000 pounds of illegal narcotics.

MYTH: The Administration is not building President Trump’s border wall

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: Construction is well underway on the wall. Congress appropriated $341M in FY17 and $1.375B in FY18.  Total = 1.716B. With FY 2017 and 2018 funding we are building 140 miles. Our FY 2019 request is for an additional 65 miles.

  • El Centro PF Replacement Project (2.25 miles):
    • Construction is on schedule for completion in October 2018.
  • El Paso VF Replacement Project (20 miles):
  • Construction is on schedule for completion in March 2019.
  • San Diego Primary Replacement Project (14 miles):
    • Construction is on schedule for completion in May 2019.
  • El Paso PF Replacement Project (4 miles):
  • Construction remains on track to start in September.

MYTH: The National Guard has not helped in efforts to secure the southern border

Fact - Green CheckmarkFACT: Operation Guardian Support has led to more than 13,600 arrests and the seizure of more than 14,000 pounds of illicit drugs. While National Guard troops are not physically arresting aliens or seizing contraband, these outcomes are attributed to the support they provide, including monitoring sensors and operating detection systems. Ultimately, the mission gives us more eyes on cameras, more aircraft in the air surveilling and more boots on the ground patrolling.

Last Updated: 07/29/2020
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