When Karen discussed the latest moves the Biden administration is making to try to deal with the crisis on the southern border yesterday, she highlighted the fact that the President is taking what look to be some rather desperate measures to handle the human wave of migrant families and unaccompanied minors flooding our facilities. But there was another order coming to the Border Patrol from the White House that makes the situation seem even more dire. In what’s being described as an unprecedented decision, immigration enforcement officials are now releasing hundreds of illegal aliens into the interior of the country without even scheduling a court appearance for them. This takes the entire idea of “catch and release” to another level. (Axios)
Border patrol agents in the Texas Rio Grande Valley sector used their own discretion to release about 150 migrants Saturday evening without giving them a court date, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The use of prosecutorial discretion by border patrol to release migrants without a notice to appear in court is unprecedented, according to multiple sources, and is yet another sign of how overwhelmed parts of the border are becoming.
The Rio Grande Valley sector had roughly 5,100 migrants in custody as of Sunday, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios.
They were supposed to keep the number of migrants in their custody to about 700 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, this was not a case of a few Customs and Border Protection agents going rogue and deciding to bypass the rules. Permission for the agents to employ “prosecutorial discretion” came straight from Washington and the Department of Homeland Security. And you can bet that Alejandro Mayorkas didn’t just cook that idea up on his own without running it by Joe Biden’s staff first. To do so would have amounted to career suicide when news of this policy inevitably leaked out.
DHS was asked about this unprecedented policy change and one official there told reporters that “in some cases, families are placed in removal proceedings further along in the release process rather than while they are at the border patrol station.” Seriously? It doesn’t sound to me like there’s going to be any later stages of the “removal proceedings” if you dump someone off at a bus station with no appointment to have them back in court and, very likely, no way to track their movements. They’ll just disappear.
DHS is claiming that all of the illegals who are being released in this fashion first had to undergo criminal and national security records checks at a Border Patrol station. They also say that biographical and biometric information was collected from them prior to their release. Again, I find myself being a bit skeptical. We’re to believe that full background checks and health screening were done on more than 150 people from foreign countries in a single day before they were dropped off at the local Greyhound station?
The optics of this decision are beyond awful. To a certain extent, you can almost understand releasing people on their own recognizance until their court date if the system is totally overwhelmed, assuming no red flags pop up during the screening process. But simply sending them on their way without even scheduling an immigration court hearing just looks like we’re throwing in the towel. The message to the illegal migrant community is probably pretty clear at this point. Congratulations! If you can make it across the border, we’ll just pat you on your head and send you along to tend to your own business.
It’s also worth noting that DHS told Axios that agents are “still using an emergency public health order to quickly expel migrant adults and some families.” But the official admitted that the guidance allowing the migrants to be released without a court date “gives them more leeway” on a case-by-case basis. That may be true, but prosecutorial discretion is generally not exercised by law enforcement agents at the scene of the crime in any but the most minor of infractions. That discretion is generally reserved for prosecutors and judges.
It’s long since become obvious that Joe Biden rushed into undoing Trump-era immigration enforcement policies without having an inkling of a plan to handle what would come next. Simply dumping illegal aliens off at bus stations with no way to track them for later processing is a sign of simply surrendering in the war to keep control of our borders.