The surge in immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally has caused a federal resource crisis and prompted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release large numbers of aliens on a regular basis. In Tucson, waves of released illegal immigrants have reportedly been crowding a bus station after being flown there via plane by ICE.
The Monitor reported that earlier this week, over 100 illegal immigrants were “left to their own devices” at a Tucson-based Greyhound station. U.S. officials “released them on their own recognizance” from Border Patrol sectors in Arizona and South Texas.
Most of the released immigrants subsequently hopped buses headed for cities around the country.
Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert, said that releasing individuals at bus stations “is a common tactic for ICE as a way to both alleviate the burden on local communities where these immigrants initially cross into and a way to discourage illegal immigrants from either staying in the US or crossing the border in the first place.”
Laurie Melrood, a volunteer at the Tucson Greyhound station, told The Monitor, “The sheer volume of people being released is staggering. On a holiday weekend most of the buses are already booked. To release this many women and children without tickets or even information on how to purchase tickets is clearly a health and safety threat to an already vulnerable population.”
Since the Tucson bus station reportedly closes around 11:30 p.m., many people are left without a place to stay the night while they wait for a ticket. Melrood and other volunteers regularly provide the released immigrants with food, water, and shelter.
Although ICE has reportedly been dropping off illegal immigrants at the Tucson bus station for about eight months, the number has recently increased as illegal immigration has surged along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The problem is especially pronounced in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley (RVG) where Border Patrol agents are apprehending about 1,000 illegal immigrants per day.
The RVG has been so overwhelmed, in fact, that 100 illegal immigrants were recently transported via plane to El Paso for processing. Many others are routinely sent to the Greyhound bus station.
“The problem is that now a south Texas issue has become a southern Arizona issue and will become a west Texas issue or wherever ICE decides to dump the next group of illegal immigrants,” Longmire said. “It’s clear DHS is not adequately prepared to deal with this surge, which it should have been if it had been properly analyzing country conditions in Central America that led to this mass exodus in the first place. Shifting the logistical burden to other border sectors may temporarily help one area of the border, but eventually many U.S. communities are going to pay the price for these band-aid policies.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.