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National Guard Cannot End ‘Catch and Release,’ Say Immigration Reformers

border wall

The limited deployment of the National Guard to the border is political theater because it will do nothing to help or accelerate the repatriation of migrants who use border-law loopholes to claim asylum and work-permits, say immigration reformers.

The deployment “is a nothing-burger, even less than a nothing-burger,” said one activist. “There is only so much you can do with the military on the border, and my sense is that [Secretary of Defense James] Mattis does not want to get involved,” the activist said.

“This is just a Bush-era rehash that won’t work,” said Bill Gheen, founder of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, noting the similarity to Bush’s 2006 “Operation Jump Start” which did little to stop the huge inflow of illegal immigrants during Bush’s terms. Gheen told Breitbart News:

We want the President to announce that ‘catch and release’ is being ended and illegals will either be repelled, or incarcerated near the border and not allow to disappear into the United States  … and we want the Army sent because this is an invasion. Article 4 of the Constitution must be upheld, and if these things don’t happen, we will ask American citizen volunteers and Trump supporters … to go to the border to physically prevent illegal immigration from entering the United States.

Americans should go to the border to physically block migrants, he said, because “it will be important for the president to turn on his TV and see people on who voted for him on the border doing the job he should be doing.”

Gheen also posted a statement on ALIPAC’s website:

Rehashing [President George W.] Bush’s failed policies by sending the National Guard to the border to wash vehicles, answer phones, fix fences, and grill burgers for the Border Patrol shows the Trump administration is more interested in appearances than in actually stopping illegals from entering the US …

Trump wants to blame Congress and courts, but the truth is he could end the Executive Branch policy of catch and release today if he wanted and his decision to focus on DACA and Amnesty legislation for illegal aliens instead of the mass deportations he promised has attracted this new border surge and large caravan. If Trump does not end catch and release, and send the U.S. Army to stop these caravans of illegals, then we will call on U.S. citizens from all states to muster at points on the border and take direct action to prevent further illegal entry through Operation American Shield.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen provided some basic information about the deployment plans on Wednesday.

The Guard is being mobilized under Title 32 of federal law, so requiring federal officials to work jointly with the governors who control the National Gaurd units, she said. 

She declined to say how many guard soldiers would be deployed, or how long they would be assigned to the border, saying the plan has to be negotiated with the governors. “It will be strong; it will be as many as needed to fill the gaps we have today,” she said.

She said:

As I said – DHS and DOD are finalizing the deployment plan – the how, who, where, and when.  I will not provide the full details today because much of what we are doing must be done in conjunction with the border state governors – they will be our partners.

I called each of the governors and will be continuing these conversations.  It is encouraging that some of them have already taken dramatic steps in their own states to confront illegal immigration.    These are leaders who understand the importance of immigration enforcement and border security, and how it improves public safety in their states.  I look forward to working with each of them. 

Nielsen also said the DHS will soon send a package of proposed legal reforms to Congress which would help close the border-law loopholes. 

DHS officials also released data about migrants’ use of the “credible fear” loophole to get into the United States for an asylum hearing.

  • Before 2013, approximately 1% of arriving aliens claimed credible fear (asylum).  Now 1 out of 10 claim credible fear.

o   Credible fear claims increased 1700% from 2008 to 2016.

  • Before 2011, over 90% of arriving aliens were single adult males.  Today 40% are families and children.
  • Before 2009, 90% of arriving aliens were Mexican nationals. Today nearly 50% are Central Americans.

DHS officials also posted data about the rising number of youths and children who are using the TVPRA loophole to get into the United States:

Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Units:

  • In FY17, 48,672 UACs were apprehended by CBP compared to 3,598 UACs that were removed.
  • In FY17, 104,999 Family Units were apprehended by CBP compared to 2,605 that were removed in FY17.
  • Thus far in FY18, 13,186 UACs were released into the interior of the United States – that’s in addition to the 42,146 UACs and 52,147 UACs who were released in FY17 and FY16 respectively, bringing the total number of UACs released from FY16 to date in excess of 107,000.
  • Thus far in FY18, 39,984 Family Units have been apprehended by CBP.


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