Biden’s Coronavirus Plan: Catch and Release Border Crossers into U.S.

Catch and Release Policy
David McNew/Getty Images

Presumptive 2020 Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is suggesting a restart of the nation’s “Catch and Release” program in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The policy would ensure thousands of border crossers are readily released into the United States.

This week, during an interview with Florida local media, Biden suggested a return to the previous, decades-long policy of catching and releasing border crossers into the U.S. as they await their asylum hearings despite public health concerns over the coronavirus.

“You’ve never seen a time where someone seeking asylum has to seek it from another country,” Biden said when asked about his immigration plan in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. “You’ve never seen a circumstance where we put people in cages. We have to take stock of where we are.”

Biden’s plan would ensure that thousands of border crossers who have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border since President Trump’s shutdown of the region would be released into the country while they await their asylum hearings — the majority of which take years to hold.

Today, Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy coupled with the border shutdown has allowed federal immigration officials to swiftly return border crossers to Mexico in an average of 96 minutes. The policy means border crossers from Mexico and Central America are processed and immediately returned to Mexico without setting foot in the U.S. interior.

As Breitbart News reported, federal immigration officials have said that as of April 10, Trump’s policy had successfully returned 10,000 border crossers to Mexico.

Analysis conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows a continued flow of border crossers being returned to their native countries in recent weeks.

From March 15 to April 24, ICE Air appears to have made 21 deportation flights to Guatemala; 18 to Honduras; 12 to El Salvador; six to Brazil; three each to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic; and one each to Colombia and Jamaica…

Over the last 12 weeks, it appears that ICE has used 22 unique charter planes for 232 likely deportation flights. Of those planes, 15 participated in confirmed ICE Air deportation flights between October 2018 and May 2019, the most recent data compiled by UWCHR.

Biden’s plan, though, would reverse such measures, halting deportations except for convicted felon illegal aliens and allowing those arriving at the border to await their asylum hearings in the U.S. interior with the hopes that they show up to court.

The plan proposed by Biden comes even as public health concerns have circulated around border crossers arriving at the southern border. This week, an illegal alien from India tested positive for coronavirus after he snuck across the border into California with a group of Mexican nationals.

Likewise, data from Guatemalan officials have said about 50 to 75 percent of all migrants returned to Guatemala from the U.S. have tested positive for coronavirus.

Under Biden’s plan, each of these border crossers would be in a federal immigration facility or already released into the U.S. interior.

Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy has decimated asylum fraud. In the first few months of its implementation, the policy ensured that zero of 1,200 total border crossers ineligible for asylum in Mexico had been released into the U.S. interior. Most recent reports have indicated that the Remain in Mexico policy has a less than one percent asylum-grant rate.

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


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