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EXCLUSIVE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement and removal operations have turned into an “unofficial travel coordination agency,” and agents are being appointed to coordinate travel for some illegal immigrants with criminal records, an ICE source told Fox News on Wednesday.
The ICE official responded to Fox News reporting that lone illegal immigrants are being processed quickly and released in large numbers into the US through a hub in Brownsville, Texas.
FOX NEWS FOOTAGE SHOWS MASS RELEASE OF SINGLE MIGRANTS IN US
Footage from Fox News shows several federally contracted buses dropping off dozens of mostly males migrants in a parking garage in Brownsville, Texas. Black tarps were set up with a makeshift sign that read “Border Patrol drop off” above it.
Since then, Fox News has witnessed the release of hundreds of migrants in the area in just a few days. From there, the migrants are transported via taxis to bus stations and airports.
The source said the coverage is superficial and the mass releases have been discreet since February, that ICE fugitive operations teams are essentially non-existent, and that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operation (ERO) has become what the source calls an “unofficial travel coordination”. desk.”
“Between [releases] and the vaccine mandate, morale is at its lowest,” the source said. “Imagine going into the office all day to make a phone call to coordinate travel for someone who just entered illegally, some with criminal records.”
The Biden administration has drastically reduced the scope of ICE for arrests and deportations, blocked enforcement raids in the workplace, prevented officers from making arrests in certain locations, and limited enforcement to three priorities: recent border crossings, aggravated criminals, and threats to national security. safety.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently praised the Biden administration’s rule that an illegal immigrant’s illegal status should not be the basis of any enforcement action against them.
“We have fundamentally changed immigration enforcement domestically,” Mayorkas said in an interview with CBS News
The ICE source told Fox that the agency is now releasing migrants with misdemeanor crimes such as assault, DUI, drug possession and illegal return, withholding only those with serious crimes.
As to whether US taxpayers will foot the bill for migrant travel, the agent told Fox: “We will contact the relatives and ask them for an address and to please buy a ticket (bus or plane). If they If you don’t, the NGO buys the ticket and bills the government.”
ICE told Fox News this week that it determines custody “on a case-by-case basis” in accordance with the law and takes into account the merits of each case. It also transports migrants to airports and transit hubs, and coordinates with non-governmental organizations to provide shelter, food, clothing and transportation for migrants. The agency also confirmed it has established an operations center in Brownsville to support individuals and administer COVID-19 testing.
“US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses its civilian immigration enforcement priorities on the detention and removal of non-citizens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” a spokesman said.
“Non-citizens processed under Title 8 will be assessed for detention based on their immigration and criminal background, applicable statutes and established processing criteria. Individuals deemed fit for release will be released in consultation with local partners and subject to reporting requirements in connection with their immigration procedures.”
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In December, there were more than 178,000 detentions of migrants, after a year of more than 212,000 monthly meetings at one point in the crisis. Many officials believe the high numbers will continue throughout the year.
The Biden administration has reversed some key Trump-era policies but has been forced by a court order to re-implement the migrant protection protocols that migrants keep in Mexico for their hearings. However, only a few hundred have been enrolled in the program so far.