Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers plan to release migrants into the U.S. directly into communities distant from the border. Border Patrol agents will rely on ICE officers to conduct migrant releases when detention space is not available in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Border Patrol officials are instructed to conduct the local releases only when ICE cannot cope with the level of arrests made by the Border Patrol. The number of arrests will determine for how long the new plan will be carried out.
Breitbart News reports that many released migrants will be removed from centers at the border and taken to family residential detention centers to wait for their release. It is expected migrant numbers will increase in San Antonio.
This new policy will require significant funding and is seen as a move driven by the increased media attention on border issues.
Breitbart News reported this move comes as winter storms impact the area, with temperatures below freezing and hundreds of thousands without power.
Law enforcement sources have reported many released migrants are still not being tested for COVID-19.
Humanitarian shelters along the border have quickly filled during the cold snap, and transport has come to a standstill in many areas. Power in the centers has shut down, and in some areas, migrants are wandering around in large department stores to keep warm.
Mayor Bruno Lozano of Del Rio, Texas, posted a YouTube video strongly urging President Biden to halt migrant releases within his city and surrounding communities.
The video points to the abysmal conditions created by the freeze and the lack of resources to deal with the influx. COVID-19 is becoming a concern, says the mayor.
More than 69,000 migrants were arrested from October 2020 to January in the Rio Grande Valley, which is an increase of 136 percent.