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How U.S. Border Patrol Agents Decide on Which Migrants Get Released into the U.S.

A Border Patrol agent processes individuals at a facility in Nogales, Arizona. (CBP)
A Border Patrol agent processes individuals at a facility in Nogales, Arizona. (CBP)

Following the dramatic surge in migrant crossings last week, it has come to surface that United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has issued a memo and checklist for Border Patrol Agents to fill out and decide which migrants are released into the homeland.

According to reports, the CBP checklist was part of last year's email for "Safety Community Release," outlining that to make community releases, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have no room. The email also noted that Border Patrol facilities had to exceed the capacity to allow for the release of migrants, and the number of migrant encounters had to go above ICE and NGO capacity daily.

"As Judge Wetherell noted in issuing his TRO blocking implementation of the release policy, this is a circumvention of a law in order to deal with a crisis that is entirely of the administration's own making," explained the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Media Director Ira Mehlman.

"Facilities exceed capacity because the Biden administration has implemented a whole range of policies that make it clear that people crossing the border illegally and/or entering bogus asylum claims will be allowed to remain here. Moreover, the expansive use of parole provides the added incentive of work authorization after 180 days. Since most of the people entering are, in fact, economic migrants seeking work, this is a further inducement," Mehlman told The Foreign Desk.

"The bottom line, if you make it clear that overwhelming the capacity of BP facilities will result in community releases, it is a safe bet that we will see these facilities continue to be overrun," he added.

"The Biden administration admitted in multiple courts that it does not use all of the paid-for and available ICE detention space. In addition, the administration has eliminated detention space and reduced ICE's detention budget," said Lora Ries, Director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation.

"So, it is clear the administration is striving to release illegal aliens into the US Americans will be harmed physically, economically, and more by this reckless policy. There is nothing 'safe' about the administration's 'Safe Community Release," Ries told The Foreign Desk.

The CBP said that the Border Patrol agency must meet all criteria outlined before making such releases into the homeland.

Speaking to the Daily Caller News Foundation, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd confirmed the documents' validity, saying that while the checklist is official US

policy, the overwhelming number of migrants in processing has led to releases without the forms' usage.

"This is policy that this is supposed to be done. Whether it falls through the cracks because of how busy we are, certainly things will fall through the cracks," Judd told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

"Nobody has a better handle on what is going on than Brandon Judd and the officers he represents," Mehlman said. "They know what is going on because they are on the front lines and seeing it with their own eyes."

Asked about National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd's explanation regarding the checklist, Ries explained that it was "not surprising," given that the Biden White House's open border agenda has "enticed historic numbers of illegal aliens to come to our border and overwhelm our agents."

"The administration can't then seriously hide behind a checklist to cover its violations of the law and disregard for our national sovereignty, security, and safety," she added.

At the top of the Safe Community Release Checklist, it reads that Sectors will "need to completely fill out the checklist with names and titles of all notified parties and email to USBP HQ at least 1 hour prior to completing the release."

The Safe Community Release Checklist Nationality breakdown has five Latin American countries like Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Officials say the checklist is used in the Southern and Northern border sectors.

"If there is further pertinent information about the release that the sector will need to relay to USBP HQ (i.e., media attention), it should be included in the email," the memo reads.

Following the concerns over the expiration of Title 42, a Trump administration expulsion order, last week, the concern about migrant releases into states on the southern border significantly increased. Several hours before the policy's end, Arizona Mayor Dough Nicholls announced that migrants would be released into local communities, despite the lack of resources.

US federal authorities have expelled more than two million migrants thanks to Title 42. Following the measure's end, the Biden administration wanted to use parole authority to release migrants into the US without court dates, instructing them to self-report to ICE. Florida Federal Judge Thomas Kent Wetherell II blocked the efforts last week.

Last week, Border Patrol agents released more than 6,000 migrants using parole. In response to the ongoing border crisis, Republican governors of Florida and Idaho are sending law enforcement officers and other assistance to the US-Mexico Border.

According to reports, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is sending resources and over 1,100 officers to Texas, including 800 National Guard members, 200 law enforcement officers in teams of 40, and five aircraft. In Congress, Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have called on President Biden and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to address the ongoing crisis or face impeachment.

Mehlman and other immigration experts say to solve this crisis, the Senate should "pass HR 2, which has already been approved by the House."

"The bill includes provisions that would curtail asylum abuse, particularly raising the very low bar for making a credible fear claim – a key factor that is driving the border crisis and ending catch-and-release. Additionally, it provides funding for border security (mandating construction of the border security fence), manpower, technology, and other resources and requires that the funding be used for enforcement, not processing and releasing migrants more efficiently," he noted.

Mehlman also explained that since the Democrat Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer may not even bring it up in the Senate and the President has "already issued a veto threat – the administration could begin enforcing laws that are already on the books (many of which Senator Joe Biden voted for)."

"The Republican-led House will also have an opportunity during the FY 24 appropriations process to write funding bills in a way that prevents the administration from diverting funding for border security to processing and releasing migrants as they have been doing," Mehlman explained.

Experts like Ries said that Congress "needs to exercise its power of the purse immediately to stop the Biden administration's open border operations by withholding key funds. The administration has shown it will continue to defy the law, but lack of funds will change its behavior."

Related Story: Federal Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order Halting DHS Plan to Release Foreign Nationals into the U.S. En Masse

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