Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector are processing and releasing illegal immigrants who are seeking asylum without issuing the individuals a Notice to Appear (NTA), which establishes a hearing court date, according to a Fox News exclusive on Sunday.
Without an NTA, the responsibility to seek an asylum hearing falls on the illegal immigrant, who would have to go through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or legal assistance.
Fox News reported that several Border Patrol agents confirmed the unprecedented move, noting that in the midst of a surge of illegal immigrants at the border, agents are being directed to use prosecutorial discretion to avoid the typically hours-long process necessary to issue an NTA.
Alternatively, the illegal immigrants are registered with biometrical data and often released into the public. The agents added that the policy does not apply to unaccompanied children.
According to one senior Customs and Border Protection source, the move was considered because the worsening border crisis has “become so fire that [Border Patrol] has no choice but to release people nearly immediately after apprehension because there is no space to hold people even to do necessary NTA paperwork.”
The new approach to processing came as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement [ORR] announced they are working on opening another facility for unaccompanied children in Pecos, Texas.
“While ORR has worked to build up its licensed bed capacity to almost 13,500 beds, additional capacity is urgently needed to manage both enhanced COVID-19 mitigation strategies and the increasing numbers of UC referrals from DHS,” an ORR spokesperson said.
The temporary facility would hold between 500 and 2,000 unaccompanied minors.
The Democrat administration is implementing multiple unorthodox strategies to handle the influx of illegal immigrants that topped 100,000 in February alone.
Over the weekend, the Biden administration granted $86 million in taxpayer money to a contract for hotel rooms to house roughly 1,200 illegal immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border as the surge of migrants continues, according to DHS officials, Axios reported.
Executed through Texas-based nonprofit Endeavors, the contract
covers a six-month period but could be extended and increased. Axios reported that the hotels will be near the border in at least Arizona and Texas.
Last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the number of immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally will likely reach the highest rate in two decades.
“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Mayorkas said in a statement Monday, blaming the surge in large part on claims of Mexico’s dwindling cooperation, COVID-19 and former President Donald Trump’s administration.