Department of Homeland Security Announces End to ‘Catch and Release’ Policy
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan announces the move
The policy is known as “catch and release” will end next week, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as announced by Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Monday.
“What we’re doing with Central American families now that’s ending the catch and release process is that if they don’t have a fear or claim, they’re going to be repatriated in a streamline fashion, or if they do have a fear or claim, asked to wait under the Migrant Protection Protocols in Mexico,” he said.
“So they will not be currently held on the U.S. side of the border, even in the family residential centers, because we’re not able right now to complete an immigration proceeding, while in the 21 days we have by court order,” McAleenan added.
Border Patrol began releasing families directly from its custody into the United States in March.
The families received a notice to appear in court after facilities became overrun with migrants.
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.
In May, of the 132,859 migrants apprehended at the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection noted 90 percent had crossed illegally.
72 percent of the apprehensions were f unaccompanied children and family units.
After President Donald Trump threatened Mexico with 5 percent tariffs if they didn't address the flow of illegal immigrants, enforcement actions for Central Americans who present at the border dropped 70 percent.
Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, said that the policy shift would be possible through a “network of initiatives and policies by this administration that’s really been supported by several different entities within” the DHS, inclduing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Trump told reporters:
“There will be no more catch and release. Nobody coming into the country … And that’s without the Democrats.”
Morgan said there are “two significant things” that are able to enable the practice of “catch and release” to end.