'Overwhelmed' Border Patrol Forced To Release Illegal Immigrant Families Into US
CE Director Ronald Vitiello describes 'dire situation' at Southern border
Border Patrol agents have been forced to release immigrant families apprehended at the southern border instead of transferring them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security.
ICE Director Ronald Vitiello described how the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border has become so overwhelming that Border Patrol agents are letting families escape into the US and requesting that they attend asylum hearings rather than transferring them to ICE.
"CBP [Customs and Border Protection] is doing some of their own release, and as the flow continues, we may have to start doing that," Vitiello said.
Vitiello said that ICE is "barely keeping up" with the people it is taking from CBP, which is forcing border agents to take matters into their own hands.
"They are overwhelmed, and we are in a position where we’re not able to help them as fast as we want to," he said.
Vitiello, who has spent 30 years working for the CBP, said that release an unspecified number of undocumented immigrants "not different" than what CBP did in the mid-2000s.
Border Patrol agents would arrest almost 100,000 people per month before releasing them out of the back door of stations.
According to The Washington Examiner: It's not clear how many immigrant families have been released by CBP and not transferred onto ICE.
Border Patrol assumes to apprehend 100,000 illegal border crossers in March, the majority of whom are families and unaccompanied children and must be handled differently than single adults.
Vitiello said ICE is "grateful" to nongovernmental organizations, many of which are migrant advocacy groups, but said even nonprofits are in a "dire" circumstances as they cope to feed, clothe, relocate, and house tens of thousands of people being released into the country each month.
He pushed back on the idea that immigration officers are "dumping" people on the streets, saying there was "nowhere to put them" after they were released from federal custody.
During the 2014 and 2015 surges of unaccompanied minors at the southwest border, ICE set up overnight facilities to hold children and families.
Vitiello said there are no firm plans to do so in this case, but did not share why.
Last week, Border agents in El Paso, Texas captured over 430 illegal immigrants with the space of five minutes on Tuesday as two large groups of migrants flooded unsecured areas of the Southern Border.
Agents near the wall just west of Bowie High School in El Paso apprehended a group of 194 illegals around 2:45 a.m, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Just five minutes later, agents snagged a second group of 245 illegal aliens near downtown El Paso.