The Biden administration caused controversy last year when Fox News reported that the agency was developing ID cards for illegal immigrants.
That story got more attention this week after images revealing what the cards will look like were leaked.
Fox News published the leaked images this week, and they show that the IDs will feature a photograph, a QR code and identifying information.
That is NOT LEGAL! They’re not citizens and should get no help, no cards, nothing but a trip back to their homes!!!
— Kellyfria (@kellyfria) September 21, 2023
They will be issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to "modernize various forms of documentation provided to provisionally released noncitizens through a consistent, verifiable, secure card."
ICE further claims they will include "cutting-edge" security features and "improve current, inconsistent paper forms that often degrade rapidly in real-world use."
That news brought criticism from RJ Hauman, a visiting adviser at the Heritage Foundation who also serves as president of the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE).
"ICE is a federal law enforcement agency, not the DMV. When will Congress wake up and put an end to these open-borders, anti-enforcement programs that defy the agency’s mission and enable the crisis?" Fox News quoted him as saying.
"ICE should be arresting, detaining, and removing those who come here illegally, not doling out social services," Hauman added.
Those sentiments were echoed last year in a letter sent to ICE Director Tae Johnson by a group of 16 Republican lawmakers.
"We are concerned that this pilot program is yet another Biden Administration move encouraging illegal immigration by rewarding illegal immigrants for breaking our laws," they wrote.
"The ATD (Alternatives to Detention) program’s failure to ensure illegal immigrants report to ICE is not a reason to issue them identification cards hoping the statistics improve, but instead an indication that more of these illegal border crossers should be detained during the pendency of removal proceedings," the Republicans added.
However, an ICE spokesperson downplayed those concerns in a statement provided to Fox News, saying, "Moving to a secure card will save the agency millions, free up resources, and ensure information is quickly accessible to DHS officials while reducing the agency’s FOIA backlog."
"For provisionally released noncitizens, the digital modernization will provide ongoing access to important immigration documents through the secure card and connected portal," the statement added.