Border Crisis Forces Massive Catch and Release Policy

HUIXTLA, MEXICO - JANUARY 20: People from a caravan of Central American migrants walk along a roadside on their way to the United States on January 20, 2019 in Huixtla, Mexico. Some members of the caravan are in Mexico while others are further behind in Guatemala. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty …
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The ongoing border crisis forced Border Patrol officials to implement a massive catch and release program where most migrants illegally crossing the border are released shortly after being processed. The policy comes as Border Patrol officials estimate that more than 100,000 migrants will be apprehended in March.

Border Patrol officials in multiple sectors announced a policy this week to being releasing thousands of migrants on their own recognizance shortly after they are apprehended at the border. The move comes in response to the massive increase of illegal border crossings by migrant families from Central America.

“This demographic is challenging in that they cannot be immediately returned to their country of origin,” Del Rio Sector Border Patrol officials stated. “U.S. Border Patrol processing centers are not designed to house the current numbers of families and small children that we are encountering.”

During a press conference late this week, Yuma Sector Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Carl Landrum announced a similar policy for his Arizona sector. He blamed the dramatic surge in migrant families and minors that are overwhelming his sector’s agents and resources.

“Due to capacity issues at our stations and the ongoing humanitarian crisis nationwide, Border Patrol has begun identifying detainees for potential release in Yuma with a notice to appear for their immigration hearings,” Yuma Sector officials said in a written statement.

Landrum said his sector is on pace to apprehend 60,000 migrants this fiscal year. He explained that this is the highest level since 2007 when constructions crews built border barriers that greatly reduced illegal border crossings in the Yuma Sector, AZCentral reported. The deputy chief said his sector has the capacity to hold about 400 migrants at a time.

The migrants being released reportedly have family members living in the U.S. and have cleared medical screening and criminal background checks, officials reported.

The same policy has also been implemented in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in South Texas where the largest number of migrant families and minors cross on a daily basis. Earlier this week, agents in this sector apprehended nearly 1,700 migrants in a single day, Breitbart News reported.

Hidalgo County, Texas, Sheriff Eddie Guerra says human smugglers are exploiting the current laws and advertising with pamphlets in Central America. “In Central American countries they have pamphlets and flyers that tell them, ‘Just Come to America! You will be processed and released, given an opportunity!” the sheriff said in an interview with KGBT.

During a speech at the Texas-Mexico border near El Paso, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said, “On Monday, we saw the highest total of apprehensions and encounters in over a decade, with 4,000 migrants either apprehended or encountered at Ports of Entry in a single day. That was Monday.”

“Yesterday, we broke the record again with 4,117,” the commissioner stated. “We are now on pace for over 100 thousand apprehensions and encounters with migrants in March, with 90 percent of those, 90 thousand people, crossing the border illegally between Ports of Entry. March will be the highest month since 2008. The arriving flows are made up primarily of Central American families and unaccompanied children.”

“We have lost the ability to know who or what is coming across the border,” Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza told Fox & Friends during an interview on Thursday morning. The agent spoke to Fox News in his capacity as Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council.

“We don’t know who or what is coming across because now our agents are having to process these people, transport them, feed them, care for them, and now we can’t even do our job of border security,” the veteran Border Patrol agent stated. “That’s unacceptable.”

“Out of those 100,000 that are going to be coming in during the month of March, 90 percent are being released into the community.”

In an interview with Conservative Review, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said, “We have never seen what we are dealing with today. It’s unprecedented and we’re in uncharted waters.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.




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