Border Patrol has released roughly 2,000 people into the United States without providing them the legal documents that mandate they appear in immigration court, effectively relying on them to hold themselves accountable for illegally entering the country, according to a Democratic congressman.
“I thought it was 150 people that they have released without a Notice to Appear, but it actually is getting now closer to 2,000 people they released,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas, told the Washington Examiner. “I told the person, ‘Repeat it one more time.’ Two thousand. I thought it was bad when it was 150, but it’s now closer to 2,000 people.”
It is unprecedented for Border Patrol to catch and release illegal immigrants into the U.S. without a mechanism to ensure they enter legal proceedings. Historically, when border authorities become overwhelmed, taking more people into custody than they can hold in facilities, those buildings become overcrowded, and families may be released into the country with documents that tell them when and where to appear in court for illegally crossing the border, which is a misdemeanor the first time and a felony anytime thereafter.
This change in operations means the government is depending on migrant families to act on their own recognizance to go through the legal process to see if they should not be removed, or claim asylum. But there is no record of them in the court system to ensure this. The federal government is left to “hope that they honor the honor system and show up at some time in the future,” Cuellar said.
The numbers have risen quickly. On Monday, Cuellar told the Border Report that 150 people who illegally crossed from Mexico into Texas with a family member had been let out of Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.
Cuellar said Border Patrol did not go rogue but sought approval to do it through the proper channels. Biometrics, such as fingerprints, are taken before the migrants are let go. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“They’ve got no choice because, I mean, Donna’s overloaded,” said Cuellar, referring to a series of outdoor facilities in South Texas where unaccompanied children and families are to be held temporarily after being apprehended. “More and more people are coming every day. And [Health and Human Services] is not, you know, doesn’t have the space.”
Author: Anna Giaritelli
Source: Washington Examiner: EXCLUSIVE: Border authorities released 2,000 migrants into US without notices to appear in court