DHS to Return Illegal Aliens to Mexico in Effort to End ‘Catch and Release’

Border Patrol agents search the Rio Grande River for illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States on Monday, March 26, 2018 near McAllen, Texas. An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, many of them Mexicans or from other Latin American countries. / …
LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP/Getty

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will return illegal border crossers arriving from Mexico on the southern border to Mexico while they await their U.S. immigration hearings in an effort to end “Catch and Release.”

In an announcement Thursday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said her agency would immediately invoke Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That will allow federal immigration officials to return illegal border crossers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico while they await their immigration hearings in the U.S.

“Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates,” Nielsen said. “Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico. ‘Catch and release’ will be replaced with ‘catch and return.’ In doing so, we will reduce illegal migration by removing one of the key incentives that encourages people from taking the dangerous journey to the United States in the first place.”

The new policy means that illegal aliens at the southern border claiming asylum will be processed by DHS and given a “Notice to Appear” for their immigration hearing. After, they will be returned to Mexico, which DHS officials say has agreed to provide border crossers with “humanitarian visas, work authorization, and other protections” as they await their hearings.

In the process, border crossers will have access to attorneys and to the U.S. only for their hearings. Only until an immigration judge clears border crossers of having credible asylum cases will they be allowed into the U.S.

For months, immigration experts requested DHS to implement the policy change which seeks to end the practice of border crossers being released into the interior of the U.S. where the vast majority never arrive in immigration court hearings and instead live throughout the country as illegal aliens.

As early as April, immigration experts like Jessica Vaughan told Breitbart News that DHS should implement such a policy in order to stop mass illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We can also tell people that they can apply for asylum in our consulate in Tijuana,” Vaughan said in April. “We have a branch of the U.S. embassy there and they could wait there while their claim is adjudicated. We can take a couple of weeks to hear their case from our consulate in Tijuana, or Mexico City or anywhere else in the country of Mexico; save them a long journey.”

In 88 percent of cases, Breitbart News reported, foreign nationals seeking asylum in the U.S. evade immediate deportation after claiming credible fear. Only half of the foreign nationals who evade immediate deportation by claiming credible fear, however, end up filing for asylum status after they are released into the U.S.

The DHS policy change comes after illegal immigration to the U.S. has hit record levels under President Trump’s administration.

Illegal immigration at the southern border indicates that Fiscal Year 2019 will see the biggest boom of illegal immigration in more than a decade, with more than 600,000 border crossings, according to Princeton Researcher Steven Kopits.

In November 2018, there were close to 52,000 border crossings on the southern border, alone, marking the highest level of illegal immigration in the month of November since 2006. In October 2018, illegal immigration at the southern border soared to the highest level for a single month since April 2014. The month’s illegal immigration levels are almost exactly double what southwest border crossings were this same month in 2017.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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