HOUSTON, Texas–As illegal immigrants continue to pour across the border, word is spreading in Central America that migrants with children (“family units”) will get to stay in the U.S. Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo, TX) told Breitbart Texas that most Mexican migrants who cross the border illegally are promptly sent back to their home countries–the same should be done to Central American illegal immigrants, he argued.
“If we don’t detain and immediately remove them–like we do with Mexican [illegal immigrants]–then they’re going to keep coming,” Cuellar said. “If the president wants to do an executive order, this is the right time to do it: treat everyone the same under the [immigration] laws.”
He continued, “Yes, [in Central America] there are economic situations, high murder rates, and crime. But the other factor is that they’re realizing, ‘Hey, if you come to the U.S. with kids, they’re going to give you a notice to appear. And with that you can get on a bus and just travel.’ And that’s exactly what’s happening right now.”
Victor Manjarrez–a professor at the University of Texas El Paso, former Chief Patrol Agent of Tucson Sector, and former Chief Patrol Agent in El Paso Sector–previously told Breitbart Texas, “Once [the immigrants] get processed, because there are not enough holding facilities, they’re scheduled for a hearing sometime in the future. They promise to show up then get released. They then [often] call up relatives in Central America and tell them they got released.”
Often, the migrants perceive this to be amnesty, or “permisos.”
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby released video footage earlier this week showing a bus station in Laredo, Texas, crowded with illegal immigrants. A Border Patrol agent told Darby that immigrants in the bus station were “family units,” and had all received documentation that allowed them to travel into the U.S. to their destination cities.
Cuellar said that once the immigrants are released, they often don’t show up for their immigration court hearing. There is a high chance they will be deported for failure to appear.
“Even if [ICE] requests an Order of Removal, ICE doesn’t prioritize them. … [deportation] probably isn’t going to happen,” Cuellar said.
Ultimately, the congressman believes that immigration policies must change in order to curb the current border crisis. He said, “We need to detain and remove them as soon as possible so that a strong message will be sent down there: you’re not going to get ‘permisos.’ In the past what worked was increased in detention and joint enforcement by the border.”
Cuellar concluded that U.S. authorities must treat Central American illegal immigrants “the same as Mexicans. … The message needs to be: we’re going to return you as quickly as possible. Because [currently] they’re crossing the river, going up to Border Patrol, and saying, ‘Here I am. Now give me my permisos.'”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.