The immigration “catch and release” release policy is being re-upped by those same architects, enablers, and defenders of the former President Donald Trump’s cruelty and chaos to attack the Biden’s Administration and for overtly political reasons.
Some Republicans say the catch and release policy helps undocumented immigrants disappear; many immigrants say it has prevented them from following the government’s instructions.
Is it true?
Let’s define the immigration term “Catch and Release.”
“Catch and release” is a term used to describe the process through which certain immigrants are apprehended and released from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody pending their immigration court proceedings. This is an incorrect term, as it incorrectly implies that individuals apprehended along the U.S./Mexico border are released from DHS custody without consideration, monitoring, or consequence. This is not true.
Detaining individuals who present no safety or flight risk has both human and economic costs. It needlessly robs these individuals of their dignity and is a drain on limited DHS resources. In fact, costs in FY19 were $124 per individual/per day for those in adult detention and $319 per individual/per day for those in family detention. See Dep’t of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Budget Overview Congressional Justification, Fiscal Year 2018, 128 (2018), available at https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CFO/17_0524_U.S._Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement.pdf.
Furthermore, many migrants entering the United States are seeking protection and already have strong community ties upon arrival, strengthening their incentive to comply with immigration requirements. These individuals are often received by family members and friends who have been in the country for some time and are eager to help their loved ones integrate into their new communities.
Other immigrants have been allowed into the country for a variety of reasons, including a lack of detention space because of pandemic precautions. The Biden administration has made some exceptions for humanitarian reasons, particularly for families and children.
Are individuals who are released from DHS custody after apprehension along the U.S./Mexico border subject to monitoring from the U.S. federal government?
Absolutely. DHS has a spectrum of humane, proven, and cost-effective alternatives to detention that it can utilize to monitor released individuals and families. The Border Patrol receives and in-process” illegal aliens at Border Patrol facilities, “conducts and documents personal property inventories, performs welfare checks, transports noncitizens with a Border Patrol agent escort, coordinates logistical and additional travel requirements, and performs various administrative duties, such as processing notes and completing paper/electronic file transfers.
In many instances, people released from DHS custody at the U.S./Mexico border are put on GPS monitoring, such as an ankle monitor, which tracks their movements electronically; these individuals are also required to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field offices periodically. Other forms of monitoring include release on bond and telephonic monitoring.
Do individuals released along the U.S/Mexico border have the responsibility to comply with their immigration court proceedings?
Yes. All individuals who are apprehended along the U.S./Mexico border are subject to U.S. immigration laws. The large majority of those who have been apprehended between ports of entry have been put into removal or “deportation” proceedings and accordingly, need to comply with the requirements of the immigration authorities, including showing up to present themselves and their case in immigration court. Those seeking a form of relief, such as asylum, have particularly high incentives to comply with their court proceedings.
Individuals have been allowed into the country for a variety of reasons, including a lack of detention space because of pandemic precautions. The Biden Administration has made exceptions for humanitarian reasons, particularly for families and children.
Who is telling the truth? You decide.