Amid surge, border agents are releasing migrants without court dates

Daily News Article   —   Posted on April 9, 2021

(by Emily Jacobs, New York Post) — US authorities have been releasing illegal immigrant families without Notices to Appear in immigration court amid an overwhelming record surge in border crossings.

News of the new practice came last week, when Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) revealed that about 150 migrants were released in one weekend “without a notice to appear” in court.

“How do you release somebody to the country without a notice to appear?” he asked on Fox News, noting that those released were family units, not adults or unaccompanied children.

Releasing families swiftly eases the burden on the overcrowded facilities run by Customs and Border Protection, which has come under fire for holding children for longer than the legal 72-hour limit.

Releasing the migrants does not solve the problem, however, instead shifting the brunt of the work involved in processing to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the report.

In a statement provided to The Post, CBP acknowledged that migrant family units were not being given court notices, saying, “The process for providing someone with a Notice to Appear (NTA) frequently takes hours, which contributed to overcrowding in some Border Patrol facilities.”

Addressing the problems caused by the time-saving measure, the statement added, “To reduce confusion, beginning on March 24, CBP included a notation on the form providing these individuals with a notice to report to an ICE office to commence their immigration proceedings.”

CBP emphasized that a background check is conducted, as well as biometric processing — which includes fingerprints and photos — and COVID testing and other services.

The Biden administration’s undoing of former President Donald Trump’s border policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican illegal migrants at the US border, including thousands of unescorted children.

Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that this president is inviting them to cross the border.

Insisting that the border was not facing a crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in early March that the problems the agency faced should be blamed on the previous administration.

The data, however, overwhelmingly shows that migrants were flooding the border because they believed Biden would welcome them with open arms.

Late last month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed the new president for the crisis, arguing that the “expectations” he set left migrants with the perception that they would be let into the US.

With Post wires