Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, border patrol agent Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, TX, said because of the Obama administrations catch-and-release policy, illegal immigrants keep coming across the border because they know they will not be deported.
Cabrera said, “Last year the American people were shocked by the massive surge of unaccompanied children. In fiscal year 2014 the border patrol apprehended 66,000 unaccompanied children primarily in the Rio Grand Valley. Although the apprehensions of unaccompanied children are down 50% in fiscal year 2015 this is no cause for celebration. We will still apprehend 30,000 unaccompanied children this year and an additional 40,000 in family groups. There are a number of factors that are driving the UACs to come. Many point to the endemic violence in Central America. Without a doubt violence and instability in Central America where the vast majority of UACs and family groups are coming from is a factor. It is not however the main factor driving these mass mitigation at this point in time. Unfortunately, many of these countries have been suffering violence, corruption and poverty for decades yet they did not leave in large numbers.”
He continued, “When border patrol agents detain a UAC or family groups we interview them and they are typically very forthcoming about their motivation about coming into the United States. Most believe that they will either not be caught, or even if they are caught, they will not be deported back to their home country. The UACs and family groups we detain are acutely aware of the fact we will not hold them until they are adjudicated. They know that they will be released and issued a Notice to Appear. What we have right now is essentially a catch-and-release policy. This coupled with violence and instability in their home country is what’s driving the continued flow into the Untied States. Unless we hold them until we adjudicate their cases they will continue to come. If there is one thing that can be done to correct this problem it would be to end the catch-and-release policy. If they knew that if they were caught they would be detained, adjudicated and repatriated to their home country, the calculus changes dramatically. I guarantee that if this was the case, the numbers would fall dramatically.”