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House Homeland Analysis: 4 Hard Truths for the Biden Administration About Jocelyn Nungaray’s Murder, Recent Illegal Alien Crime, and America’s Open Borders

June 21, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security issued the following release after multiple reports that 12-year-old Houston-area resident Jocelyn Nungaray was murdered by two Venezuelan nationals who had recently entered the United States illegally and were released into the interior—one of them barely three weeks ago. One reportedly even made a claim of credible fear of being returned to Venezuela. These horrific reports come the same week that Americans learned that the rape and murder last year of Rachel Morin, a mother of five in Maryland, came at the hands of a Salvadoran national, and just days after a 13-year-old girl in New York City was sexually assaulted by an Ecuadorian national here illegally—and who confessed to filming his heinous assault.


Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), released the following statement in response to the tragedies of this week: “My heart aches for these women and their families and loved ones. These tragedies could have been avoided if the Biden administration would simply enforce the laws they swore to uphold. It’s truly that simple. Americans no longer feel safe in their own communities and neighborhoods. It does not have to be this way. Our Committee will continue to do everything possible to ensure justice for these victims, and accountability for the public officials ultimately responsible for these tragedies.

Americans must understand that these tragedies were preventable, on a number of levels. The Committee has outlined just a few of the hard truths the American people need to know—and with which the Biden administration must be confronted.

Hard Truth #1: The Biden administration ended policies and practices that could have prevented these tragedies.

  • As this Committee has thoroughly documented, upon assuming office, President Joe Biden and now-impeached Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas moved immediately to implement a policy of mass catch-and-release.
  • They also quickly ended commonsense, proven border security and enforcement policies that could have been used by DHS law enforcement to deal with criminals attempting to illegally enter the United States. They ended the Remain in Mexico policy and various safe third-country agreements with Northern Triangle countries, which helped the previous administration cut down on abuse of the asylum system. They ended the Title 42 public health authority for Border Patrol agents, under which these criminals could have been quickly expelled. Any of these policies could have helped prevent these tragedies. 

Hard Truth #2: There is no such thing as adequate vetting or screening of illegal aliens caught crossing the border illegally.

  • First, DHS law enforcement simply do not have time to adequately vet the vast majority of illegal aliens currently crossing the border, given the historic number of daily crossings. Amidst pressures to process and release illegal aliens, Border Patrol agents and CBP officers routinely do not have the time to conduct adequate vetting to root out derogatory information.
    • Per one Border Patrol agent earlier this year, “The turnover is insane, it’s less than 72 hours,” with another agent saying, “Full checks in 72 hours is next to impossible,” and that “with the numbers we get, it’s highly probable that people are going to slip through the cracks.”
  • Second, agents often can only rely on information already in U.S. databases.
    • According to former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, vetting has become a “check-the-box exercise” because agents have no time to fully vet illegal aliens, and even if they did, they are extremely limited in terms of resources available to cross-check in other countries.
    • Anthony “Scott” Good, chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, told the Committee in an official interview last year that it was possible that illegal aliens not flagged by U.S. databases could have derogatory information in their histories of which law enforcement would not be aware.
    • ICE Acting Director Patrick Lechleitner even admitted recently, “Sometimes there is just no information on individuals. It is quite common where there is just nothing.”
  • Third, most countries from which these individuals are coming do not maintain extensive criminal databases that DHS officials can query.
    • Per the aforementioned Border Patrol agent, “Most countries are decades behind us with technology and policing practices, so when we detain these guys, mostly there’s nothing on them except [if they have] terrorism or previous US charges.”

Hard Truth #3: The Biden administration refuses to ask for necessary detention space, or use the existing detention space authorized by Congress.

Hard Truth #4: Neither the so-called “bipartisan Senate border bill” nor the recent executive order on asylum would have done anything to prevent these tragedies.

  • Under both the proposed Senate border bill and the recent executive order, the Venezuelan nationals would still have been released by being among the first 5,000 (Senate bill) or 2,500 (executive order) to enter the country any given day before a week of encounters recorded at that level, or simply applying for release into the country using the CBP One app or another parole program. 
  • The Senate border bill also would have changed the law, which as currently written requires the detention of inadmissible aliens, to require something called “noncustodial detention.” In other words, mass use of ATD, despite its numerous pitfalls and inadequacies. These individuals would have been released under the Senate border bill. 
  • Under the executive order, they could simply have shown up and not claimed asylum, because Border Patrol agents, lacking any authority comparable to Title 42 to immediately expel them, would have to either detain or release them, and the former is simply not happening consistently under the Biden administration. They would still be released under the umbrella of the asylum executive order.