U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters Monday that “Catch-and-Release is done.” He explained that temporary policies to close loopholes in U.S. immigration and asylum laws led to a 70 percent decrease from the peak levels experienced earlier this year.
Commissioner Morgan said the apprehension of illegal immigrants crossing the southwest border fell for the sixth straight month. He noted a six percent decrease from October to November and a drop of more than 100,000 enforcement actions from the peak in May 2019.
“This decrease is more than 70 percent from the height of the crisis in May,” Morgan told reporters. “Remember that was 144,000 [enforcement actions]. Six months later, we have reduced the monthly apprehensions by more than 100,000. That’s staggering in a very positive way.”
The commissioner said numbers in November usually begin to increase from previous months. However, Family Unit Alien apprehensions in this fiscal year-to-date are “53 percent lower than this time last year.”
Morgan reported the enforcement actions against families illegally crossing the border have fallen 85 percent since the peak in May in more than 88,000 were apprehended.
“Why are the numbers dropping so drastically?” the commissioner asked. “Because we have all but ended Catch-and-Release. If you are a family from the northern triangle countries, you are no longer released into the interior of the United States simply because you have a child.”
“Coming to our borders, illegally entering, filing false claims with a child is no longer your automatic passport into the United States,” Morgan said emphatically. “You will no longer be allowed into this country often never to be heard from again.”
Morgan said the message is clear: “they should not give away their life savings to the smugglers and risk their lives and their families’ based on lies told to them by the smugglers,” he explained. “They will no longer be allowed to exploit our laws and be allowed into our country based on fraudulent claims or because they arrived here with a child.”
“Those loopholes have been closed,” the commissioner stated flatly. “[The smugglers] are lying to you. The era of Catch-and-Release is done. Coming to this country with a child is no longer going to be a passport into the United States — that is done.”