Great news: ICE wastes millions flying illegal detainees around on nearly-empty planes

Great news: ICE wastes millions flying illegal detainees around on nearly-empty planes

Poor management practices at the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) air program have potentially cost taxpayers $41.1 million by allowing for detainees to be transferred on nearly empty flights, according to a new audit.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) also found that the agency’s database for tracking the transfer of detainees is riddled with errors, leaving ICE unsure of a detainees’ criminal history, gang affiliation, or even gender.

ICE Air uses charter and commercial flights to transfer detainees to foreign countries or within the United States. In many instances, the audit found, the flights are less than half full. …

The audit said that “special requests by the DHS Secretary and other mission needs such as the recent surge of unaccompanied children” have prevented ICE Air from providing efficient service.

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The OIG found 299 flights between October 2010 and March 2014 that were less than 40 percent full, costing $11,983,026. Another 745 flights used less than 60 percent of the plane’s seats, costing $41,085,000. Overall, $116 million were spent on flights that used less than 80 percent of their capacity.

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