The Trump administration expects to arrest and release into the interior of the country 650,000 unauthorized immigrants by the end of the fiscal year, making it the largest number in a single year.
President Trump’s acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Mark Morgan, shared Tuesday that the administration now expects to release into the interior of the U.S. around two-thirds of the 1 million people it anticipates Border Patrol will arrest at the southern border between last October and September.
“We’re anticipating a million this year, but we’re going to allow 65% of those individuals into the interior of the United States,” said Morgan.
Morgan said Customs and Border Protection personnel encountered 109,000 people at the U.S.-Mexico border during the month of May. Roughly two-thirds were traveling with an immediate family member and are not candidates for immediate deportation whereas single adults from Mexico would be.
Because ICE can only hold families up to 20 days due to a 2015 court ruling, all families must be released from custody and are free to travel to any part of the U.S., including those who have not applied for asylum.
The number of families coming to the U.S. illegally has shot up six-fold in the first six months of fiscal 2019 compared to the same time span last year. From October through April, 248,000 family members were taken into custody compared to 49,000 last year. With ICE unable to hold everyone even for 20 days at a time, the agency has been forced to release hundreds of thousands into communities.
Speaking to a group of reporters at ICE headquarters in Washington, Morgan said the change in demographic of illegal immigrants is making this the “worst” border crisis the Department of Homeland Security has ever seen, including when 1.6 million were encountered at the southern border in the mid-2000s.
“I believe that this is the worst in modern times that we’ve experienced because of the demographic issue,” said Morgan. “That being the family units and unaccompanied minors that are coming across illegally.”
“Sometimes people want to say, ‘The numbers back in the late ’90s and early 2000s were a little bit higher.’ But the reason for that, right, those were mainly single adult males and we were expediting the removals of those individuals.”
Morgan, who served for a brief stint at U.S. Border Patrol chief at the tail end of former President Barack Obama’s second term, said 90% of single adult men from Mexico were deported within hours of being apprehended. That involved Border Patrol encountering them, taking them to a local station, processing them, then transporting them to ICE, which would then process and transport them back to Mexico.
“That’s why this crisis, I believe, is much worse than we’re experienced in modern times,” he said.
In recent months, Border Patrol and ICE figures have continually reached new records as more people arrive at the southern border each month.
Morgan said referred to a comment then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson made a decade ago to give context to current apprehension levels.
“When I was back as chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in 2016 — and former Secretary Jeh Johnson has been on the record saying this — a bad day for him was a thousand [arrests]. And I know that and remember that ’cause that was a bad day for me,” said Morgan. “They’re looking at 4,500 a day along the southwest border. Again, those numbers are unprecedented.”
Last week, Border Patrol agents from the El Paso, Texas, region encountered a single group of more than 1,000 people. Up until then, the largest group of illegal immigrants ever encountered at one time was around 430 people, which also took place in May.
Author: Anna Giaritelli
Source: Washington Examiner: 1M will illegally cross the border this year, 65% will be released into US, officials say