Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, March 21, 2016
A top Homeland Security official told Border Patrol agents the Obama administration has “no intention of deporting” many of the illegal immigrants caught trying to sneak into the country, ordering instead that they be released so they don’t clog up the courts, a leading advocate for agents testified to Congress.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said the orders are a new “catch and release” policy, which he said “amounts to amnesty” because it means many illegal immigrants are never asked to leave the country.
It also suggests the Border Patrol is being ordered to break President Obama’s own enforcement priorities, which say new illegal immigrants–defined as those who came after Dec. 31, 2013–are priorities for deportation, and are supposed to be arrested and processed.
Mr. Judd provided his testimony in written answers released Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, saying that even in some criminal cases, agents are ordered to let illegal immigrants go without ever issuing them a Notice to Appear, or NTA, which is what puts them into deportation proceedings.
Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, declined to comment on Mr. Judd’s testimony.
But CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, testifying to Congress earlier this month, brushed aside Mr. Judd’s comments, saying he didn’t believe agents were releasing people without putting them through the full process.
Mr. Kerlikowske said Mr. Judd was “probably not the most knowledgeable organization about what’s actually going on” in the field with Border Patrol agents, and he said agents that object to Mr. Obama’s policies should quit.
“Well, if you really don’t want to follow the directions of your superiors, including the president of the United States and the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, then you really do need to look for another job,” he said.