Sunday, September 16, 2018

Illegal immigrant Families Exploit 'catch-and-release' Loopholes, Surge Over Border at Record Levels

AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File
Illegal immigration across the southwest border surged last month as President Trump’s zero-tolerance effort crumbled and smugglers and migrant families rushed to take advantage of renewed “catch-and-release” loopholes.
Border officials acknowledged a “crisis” as the number of families reached record levels, topping even the worst days of the Obama administration.
It’s so bad that caravans of families like the one that drew headlines this spring have become commonplace. Authorities reported groups of 65, 65, 66, 96 and 163 illegal immigrants caught in just the last two weeks — with children as young as four months being carried through the scorching deserts of northern Mexico and southern Arizona.
The caravans are a sign of how brazen migrants have become, said Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He said they know there’s little the administration can do, given court decisions hindering deportations, and lack of resources from Congress.
“These are a very direct response to the vulnerabilities in our legal framework,” he said.
He said the numbers were “expected,” given the administration’s widely publicized retreat from its zero-tolerance policy at the border, which came after immigrant-rights activists and members of Congress from both parties complained. Mr. McAleenan said that fight may even have perversely encouraged more people to come, after they became aware of the “loophole” of more lax treatment for illegal immigrant families.
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