In a letter sent to President Donald Trump on Monday, ICE officers said they still have to catch and release illegal aliens into the U.S. because they don’t have the resources they need — and that they are forced to waste man-hours on a border enforcement shell game.
First reported by the Washington Times and signed by National ICE Council president Chris Crane and other union leaders, the letter details that the situation currently at the border doesn’t reflect the president’s promises to get tough on illegal immigration.
“As you know, every day thousands of illegal aliens are being released into the United States by your Administration,” reads a copy of the letter obtained by Blaze Media. “‘Catch and Release’ is not just happening, it’s in overdrive. Catch and release must continue as ICE doesn’t have sufficient custody space to hold the massive number of family units illegally entering the United States every day.”
Full text of letter sent from National ICE Council president Chris Crane to POTUS yesterday regarding the catch-and-release situation at the border pic.twitter.com/qxt3y49eZ3
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) March 12, 2019
The letter then goes onto describe a work arrangement inside the Department of Homeland Security in which ICE officers are being told to perform duties related to the ongoing catch-and-release policy in order to keep Customs and Border Protection personnel from doing it.
“So ridiculous is the combined DHS, CBP and ICE policy, that Border Patrol Agents and contractors are prohibited from opening the doors of Border Patrol detention vans after transporting immigration detainees to a location for release,” the letter claims. “The Border Patrol transports the detainees for release, but ICE Officers must follow in a separate vehicle for the sole purpose of opening the doors of the van upon reaching the destination so the detainees can exit the vehicle.”
As a result of this arrangement, the officers claim, ICE personnel are being pulled from working on other agency duties like combatting terrorism and hunting down fugitives: “Hundreds of man hours are wasted each day at a time of crisis on the border when the focus of our leadership should be streamlining efforts and eliminating redundant and unnecessary work.”
“DHS resources on the border are overwhelmed,” the letter says.
“Political games in Washington, DC have rendered the United States completely incapable of controlling its southern border. While agencies like ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot control the agendas of political leaders, they have a responsibility to properly manage our resources, under the hand we’ve been dealt, in a manner that best provides for enforcement generally, and first and foremost public safety. That isn’t happening.”
Indeed, contrary to President Trump’s calls to end catch-and-release, illegal immigrants are still being released into the American interior after being apprehended by U.S. immigration authorities. For example, late last week, the Arizona Republic reported that around 50 or more illegal immigrants were dropped off at a Phoenix-area bus stop, overwhelming volunteers.
Last week, CR’s Daniel Horowitz explained the relationship between continued catch-and-release policies and February’s record illegal immigration numbers. Additionally, Reuters reports, current asylum policies have made existing sections of border fencing a magnet for would be border-crossers, rather than a deterrent.
“Again, as there is no custody space, the hundreds to thousands apprehended each day by CBP must be released to charitable organizations that facilitate their travel to locations throughout the U.S.,” the first section of the letter concludes. “In a nutshell, this is ‘Catch and Release.’ And this is where the utter nonsense begins.”
At time of publishing, the Department of Homeland Security had not responded to Blaze Media’s request for comment.