The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is suffering from a significant shortage of deportation officers. The shortage has limited its ability to process and remove more than 2 million illegal immigrants it tracks, according to an Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General report released Thursday evening.
The report, originally produced on April 13, looked at four ICE field offices and found deportation officers overseeing "non-detained" aliens were each responsible for 1,700 to 10,000 people. Among officers supervising detained aliens, each official oversaw 65 to 104 people.
The effect of that large ratio was ICE "almost certainly not deporting all the aliens who could be deported and will likely not be able to keep up with growing numbers of deportable aliens."
ICE officers were found to be so "overburdened" with their workloads that they sometimes skipped background checks and did not obtain travel documents of immigrants who checked in with the field office.
"You might work 18 hours a day, but you still won't get caught up," one deportation officer told the inspector general's office.
A spokesperson for ICE said the agency agreed with the report's findings and plans to review staffing for both units and implement changes by early 2018.
DHS Sec. John Kelly called on ICE to hire 10,000 additional agents once Congress finds a way to fund it. President Trump has demanded all criminal aliens be deported and hinted at possible removing non-criminal illegal aliens, which would be a further burden on the already-understaffed agency.