Faced with the large influx of illegal immigrants to the southern border of the United States, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has had to release 218,000 of them between December 21, 2018 and July 28, 2019, all family units, according to the Washington Examiner.
“For the first time in Border Patrol history, nearly half of the adults we apprehended in April brought children. They have received the message loud and clear: Bring a child, you will be released,” Border Patrol chief Carla Provost told a Senate subcommittee in May, according to the Daily Signal.
The 218,000 immigrants released were served with summons to appear in federal immigration court at a future date, where a judge would decide their application to remain in the country.
Immigration authorities are required to release all detained children, even if accompanied by a parent, within 20 days.
In this way, adults take advantage of the rules and often travel with children with whom they are not related and claim to be a family.
Children are also “reused”—rented by criminal gangs—to pass over and over again to adults who, when they enter the country with the children, are released due to controversial immigration laws.
Border Patrol agents detained 780,633 foreigners since October 1, not including July detentions. 132,887 were detained in May. About 428,000 were members of a family unit.
“My greatest concern is that we will no longer be able to deliver consequences and we will lose control of the border,” Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost concluded before the same Senate subcommittee in May, according to The Daily Signal.
The arrival of large numbers of immigrants has put the the federal government under great pressure, to the extent that the phenomenon became a crisis, for which various alternatives are still being studied.