GOP/Dem Deal: Less Detention of Illegal Aliens, Expanded Catch and Release

Laredo Sector agents apprehend a group of 63 illegal aliens on a ranch near the Texas border with Mexico. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector)
File Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector

A Republican-Democrat spending bill being offered to President Trump provides less detention space for border crossers and illegal aliens while expanding the Catch and Release program.

The spending package provides the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency with less detention space to house border crossers and illegal aliens, funding about 40,250 beds rather than the 52,000 beds that Trump had requested. This is about the same level of detention space that is currently funded and that which ICE officials have said is not sufficient.

Due to the massive number of illegal aliens in the U.S. — around 12 to 22 million — and roughly 1,300 new border crossers coming to the country every day, ICE officials have had to routinely exceed this 40,250 bed limit.

This has caused the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release thousands of illegal aliens into the interior of the country. In the first two weeks of January, DHS officials released about 2,000 border crossers into the U.S. due to the lack of detention space, a glimpse into what Catch and Release will continue to be should Trump sign off on the GOP-Democrat spending bill.

Aside from keeping detention space limited for ICE, the spending bill also increases the use and funding of what is known as “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) programs.

ATDs effectively allow for illegal aliens to be released into the interior of the U.S. with the promise from federal officials that they will be monitored and tracked to ensure that they arrive for court dates, hearings, and check-ins with ICE agents.

One of the most often used components of the ATDs is illegal aliens being released into the U.S. with ankle monitors on. DHS officials, though, have previously told Breitbart News the monitors are extremely ineffective and data reveals that only about one percent of ATD illegal aliens are ever deported once they are released into the country.

Despite experts warning of the ineffectiveness of ATDs, the spending bill expands the programs by allowing a daily participation rate of about 100,000 border crossers and illegal aliens rather than the current daily limit which is set at 82,000.

The expansion of ATDs and decrease of physical detention space is a steady structural change that Democrats have championed as they wish to move towards ending all immigration detention in favor of a nearly 100 percent Catch and Release policy at the southern border.

These Catch and Release expansion provisions are taken straight from House Democrats’ initial offer to Trump, which was released weeks ago and quickly shot down as it sought to end all detention of border crossers by the end of the year.

While expanding Catch and Release, the spending bill provides about $1.3 billion for 55 miles of a border wall, far less than the $5.7 billion that Trump requested and roughly $300 million less than what Republicans and Democrats originally offered last year.

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

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