Illegal immigration across the southwest border rose again in April, continuing a surge that has entirely erased President Trump’s early gains and left officials in Washington struggling over answers.
Nearly 39,000 illegal aliens were nabbed by the Border Patrol last month, according to preliminary numbers seen by The Washington Times. That’s a staggering 233 percent increase over the same month a year ago — the biggest year-over-year increase in records dating back to the beginning of the decade.
Experts said the increase is being driven by lax U.S. policies that illegal aliens have figured out ways to exploit, meaning that even if they’re caught they’re likely to be released and have a chance to disappear into the shadows, the Washington Times reports.
Dubbed “catch-and-release,” those policies continue to bedevil the Border Patrol agents responsible for protecting the southern border.
“The reason is obvious: If you can cross the border illegally without any consequence, why not. As long as the catch-and-release policy-program exists, large numbers of people are going to cross the border illegally,” said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
Mr. Judd estimated a staggering three-quarters of illegal aliens agents nab at the border are eventually released into the country under catch-and-release policies.
The latest numbers suggest that’s far from the case, however, with totals now back to where they were during the Obama era.
“In 2017 and due to the rhetoric we had fewer apprehensions than any year in the past 45 years. It was simply because people believed that if they crossed the border illegally they would be held until their deportation hearing,” Mr. Judd said.
But, he added, that didn’t end up happening. “Smugglers quickly realized everything was status quo, and they’re once again recruiting people to enter our country illegally,” he said.
illegal alien children traveling alone, and families traveling together, are a particular target for the smugglers, who assure the migrants they can win a foothold in the U.S. Officials say it’s so bad that some illegal aliens have taken to kidnapping or “borrowing” children en route to the U.S. so they can pose as a family and get more lenient treatment.
More than a third of those caught by Border Patrol agents in April were Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) or families, while for CBP officers the rate has soared to more than 50 percent.
Children and families of illegal aliens are two groups that particularly benefit from catch-and-release, thanks to court rulings that have set strict limits on how long children can be held in detention. Releasing them virtually guarantees they don’t show up for their deportations, security experts say.
Still other rank-and-file illegal aliens are also processed and released if there’s not enough detention space in the system to hold them.
Mr. Judd said that leads to the 75 percent catch-and-release figure. Given the more than 38,000 illegal aliens agents apprehended last month, that would mean more than 28,500 of them are likely to be quickly released.
Administration officials have acknowledged the problems. They say they’ve ended “administrative catch and release,” which means they no longer have an official policy calling for some classes of illegal aliens to be released automatically.
But they said a lack of detention bed space and demands set by federal courts still force catch-and-release for many illegal aliens.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
May 4th, 2018