ICE Released Over 218,000 Undocumented Family Members Since December

Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Handout via REUTERS

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a total of 218,400 migrant family members from its custody since December 2018, reflecting the insurmountable backlog of U.S. immigration courts.

ICE, the agency tasked with carrying out removal orders for illegal aliens living in the U.S., has been forced to let loose a couple hundred thousand migrant family members since December, an ICE spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Washington Examiner first reported the figures.

Of the 218,400 family unit members who were released, around 82,300 were dropped off in San Antonio, and approximately 74,700 were let go in El Paso, Texas, according to information the agency provided. Some 41,000 aliens held in Phoenix have been permitted to be released, and San Diego let loose another 20,400.

The migrants were likely given a Notice to Appear in an immigration court at a later date, but it’s not certain how many will show up on their court date.

Migrants walk to a transport bus after turning themselves in to law enforcement to seek asylum following an illegal crossing of the Rio Grande near Penitas

Migrants walk to a transport bus after turning themselves in to law enforcement to seek asylum following an illegal crossing of the Rio Grande near Penitas, Texas, U.S., July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Border Patrol agents apprehended or encountered a total of 780,633 aliens since the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year — and those figures do not include July’s apprehensions. Of the encounters this fiscal year, nearly 428,000 were members of a family unit.

A 2015 court ruling regarding the Flores settlement prohibits ICE from detaining a child for more than 20 days, even if that child arrives with a parent or other family members. ICE has no choice but to release undocumented family unit members by the thousands because of the high volume of illegal aliens arriving at the southern border.

Immigration courts are so backed up, in fact, judges are typically not able to hear new cases for two to five years.

Agency leaders atop the Department of Homeland Security have repeatedly appeared before congressional hearings and asked lawmakers to pass a fix to Flores — arguing that illegal aliens know full well how to exploit the law. (RELATED: Biden And Castro Spar Over Border Decriminalization)

“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 said before a Senate subcommittee in May. “My greatest concern is that we will no longer be able to deliver consequences and we will lose control of the border.”

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