The Biden administration will release into the country nearly 3,000 illegal immigrants, who otherwise faced deportation, because U.S. officials in November inadvertently published their personal information, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The migrants, whose names and birthdates were included in the data accidentally published by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, could face threats of violence from gangs and corrupt government officials once deported to their origin country, the agency said. The Biden administration is also offering to bring back some migrants whom officials deported before the leak was discovered.
"Though unintentional, this release of information is a breach of policy and the agency is investigating the incident and taking all corrective actions necessary," an agency official said in a statement.
The announcement comes as illegal immigration at the southern border hits record highs. Border agents reported more than two million migrant encounters in the last fiscal year. In the month of November alone, 233,740 encounters occurred, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
New York City mayor Eric Adams this week pleaded for migrants to stop coming to his city, which has "no more room," the Democrat said.
The leak comes just one month after the Department of Homeland Security "inadvertently tipped off" Havana about Cuban migrants the agency sought to deport, the Times reported:
A Homeland Security official communicating with the Cuban government about deportation flights to the country "unintentionally" indicated that some of the 103 Cubans who could have been placed on a flight had been affected by the late November data breach, ICE officials told Congress in December.
The Homeland Security official did not name any specific individuals. But telling Cuba that some of the potential deportees had been affected by the ICE leak amounted to confirming that they had sought shelter in the U.S. Every person whose information was leaked had sought U.S. protection, and the leak was widely covered in U.S. media.