About 30,000 people who illegally entered the United States via Mexico have been released by federal officials into the country since January amid a surge of people being held in detention centers, according to a former Border Patrol chief.
Mark Morgan, the former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under former President Donald Trump, told the Washington Examiner that Border Patrol officials have been directly releasing people and were not transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Morgan told the paper that he was provided the information by agency officials. The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees both ICE and Border Patrol, for comment.
“You’re not going to find that anywhere because they’re locking down the information,” Morgan said of that information. He did not provide more details.
Over the weekend, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said that he learned of at least 2,000 illegal immigrants in southern Texas that were released by Border Patrol agents without having been given notice to appear in an ICE court.
“There are some family units that have been returned to Mexico depending on the age of the kids that are with them,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told CBS News on Sunday, adding that while some are returned, “over 2,000 of them have been released into the United States without a notice to appear.”
“I emphasize—without a notice to appear at an immigration court,” he remarked. “They’re supposed to appear, show up, maybe in 60 days, report to an ICE office. This is unprecedented.” Cuellar said that the fact that thousands are being released has placed a burden on NGOs and local communities.
As of Sunday, there are more than 5,000 people who are being held by federal officials for processing in the Rio Grande Valley, and around 64 percent are unaccompanied minors, Cuellar told Border Report.
A border patrol told The Epoch Times, “Unfortunately, on any given day we may have upwards of 9,000 people in custody, which certainly puts a strain on our resources.”
President Joe Biden last week said he would not apologize for rolling back successful immigration policies of his Republican predecessor that he says undermined “human dignity” and brushed off criticism that illegal immigrants were making the journey to the southern border because they perceived him to be a “nice guy.”
Republicans, including senators who went to the border over the past weekend, said it was Biden’s reversal of several Trump-era asylum policies that led to the surge. They argued that because Biden moved quickly and issued executive orders, it essentially gave the green light for would-be migrants and human smugglers to act.
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.