Brandon Judd, President of the National Border Patrol Council, told a Congressional panel on Wednesday that the Obama Administration has reinstated the catch-and-release policy for Customs and Border Patrol agents. Under the policy, CBP agents who come into contact with illegal aliens who “claim” to have been in the country continuously since January of 2014 are let go instead of given a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge.
According to Judd, the Administration implemented the policy because multiple reports, including one from the Migration Policy Institute, have found that very few illegal aliens actually show up for their court dates and it became “embarrassing” for the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.
There are so many problems with this news; the question is where do we begin!
The fact that the Administration is reinstating a policy that puts national security and public safety at risk because it’s “embarrassed” is absurd.The failure of illegal aliens showing up for their court date is of the Administration’s own doing. On multiple occasions, Pres. Obama has issued executive actions that protect illegal aliens from deportation, signaling to the illegal-alien population that as long as they don’t commit a serious crime, they don’t have to worry about being prosecuted for breaking our immigration laws. Further, the Administration refuses to address the more than 300 sanctuary jurisdictions across the country that shield illegal aliens from federal immigration agents. Instead of capitulating its responsibility to enforce federal law because it’s “embarrassed”, the Administration should more aggressively pursue illegal aliens who don’t show up for their court date.
The policy contravenes existing federal law. Under Title 8 usc 1222, if an immigration officer comes into contact with an illegal alien who has not been legally admitted to the U.S., “the alien shall be detained for a proceeding” by the officer. In U.S. law, the word shall means imperative or mandatory. It must be done. The catch-and-release policy is just another bullet point on a long list of federal immigration laws that the Administration has simply cast aside.
The entire policy is based on the “claim” of the illegal alien. The alien doesn’t have to prove that he/she has been in the country continuously since January of 2014, he/she simply has to “claim” that they have. Once that claim is made, the CBP agent must let them go without issuing the Notice to Appear. As Judd noted in his testimony, “[t]he policy does not require the person to prove they have been here which is the same burden placed on them during deportation proceedings.” We’ve already seen tens of thousands of Central American migrants take advantage of our asylum laws by abusing the process. It won’t be long before this policy is abused as well.
News of this policy is already spreading, and it’s only a matter of time before it puts our communities at risk.According to testimony from Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, violent gangs, including the Central American MS-13 gang, have already taken advantage of the Administration’s loose enforcement policies to expand their network in the U.S.
“Violent transnational gangs such as MS-13 have taken full advantage of the Obama administration’s welcome mat to swell their ranks here, contributing to a noticeable spike in gang violence in certain localities with tragic results,” Vaughan said before the House panel.
Vaughan pointed to an uptick in violent crimes in cities that have received a number of Central American Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) who have illegally crossed the border since 2014. She also highlighted a recent sting in Boston where 56 Central American gang members were indicted for multiple crimes after first arriving in the U.S. as UACs.