Border Council Rips ‘Catch and Release’



Tough immigration enforcement directives from the White House are being thwarted by “Catch and Release” policies held over from the Obama administration, according the head of the National Border Patrol Council.

Under catch and release, federal immigration agencies are freeing illegal aliens at the border when there is no bed space at detention facilities. They’re even getting taxpayer-funded air transportation into the interior U.S.

Department of Homeland Security officials revealed in January that groups of illegal aliens were put on planes in Texas and Arizona bound for Salt Lake City and Minneapolis, respectively. Accompanied by Department of Health and Human Services escorts, they were flown to destinations of their choice, with priority boarding to boot.

“We thought there would be a massive change [with President Trump taking office], but that hasn’t happened,” NBPC President Brandon Judd told FAIR this week.

In a January 2017 executive order, Trump directed DHS to “immediately take all appropriate actions to ensure the detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law pending the outcome of their removal proceedings or their removal from the country to the extent permitted by law.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “is committed to supporting the executive order,” ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke told FAIR.

Bourke said the agency is adding detention space and working to expedite hearings at backlogged immigration courts. The average daily population at ICE detention facilities grew from 28,449 in fiscal 2015 to 38,106 in fiscal 2017.

ICE would not disclose how many migrants had been caught and released. Reuters reported last summer that the number of illegal immigrants awaiting court hearings while living freely in the United States was growing by 7,500 per month.

Judd said letting illegal aliens go on their own recognizance with a flimsy court “notice to appear” makes matters worse.

“The whole drive to stop illegal border crossings is predicated on deportations,” Judd asserted.

While critical of ICE, Judd isn’t letting his own agency off the hook.

“Border Patrol leadership could have processed our arrests in a manner that would have forced ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations to hold the individuals pending adjudication before a judge, but we didn’t.”

 “There is no legal requirement to release (illegal aliens),” Judd concluded. “We’re doing it because we’re unwilling to transfer them to detention facilities in other parts of the country that have bed space. This is about money and not the protection of U.S. citizens.”

And speaking of money, the $1.3 trillion spending bill in Congress won’t help. It limits the number of illegal aliens ICE can detain and restricts hiring of new ICE interior enforcement agents.

If Obama holdovers won’t carry out his immigration orders, the president must remove them immediately.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

4 Comments

  1. avatar

    If someone is apprehended at the border why aren’t they taken back across the border? Why are they allowed to stay here? Just doesn’t make sense.

  2. Pingback: Border Council Rips ‘Catch and Release’ | San Antonio Tea Party

  3. avatar

    Someone in Congress needs to introduce a funding for a border wall bill. No add ons, no concessions, no deals, no give and take, just a one subject bill. Let those who oppose it, Democrat and GOP, do so, and then they can explain themselves. The ones who voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, and a majority of Democratic senators did, and many of them still in office, can further explain why it was so important to vote for 700 miles of double layer fence then, but not now.

    Of course, the vote was in the fall or 2006, an election year, and therefore a chance to put on another meaningless dog and pony show, and then in the next Congress the money to build was not provided for.

  4. avatar

    The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions. NEIL MUNRO

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