Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, May 3, 2018
Nearly 39,000 illegal immigrants were nabbed by the Border Patrol last month, according to preliminary numbers seen by The Washington Times. That’s a staggering 233 percent increase over the same month a year ago — the biggest year-over-year increase in records dating back to the beginning of the decade.
Experts said the increase is being driven by lax U.S. policies that illegal immigrants have figured out ways to exploit, meaning that even if they’re caught they’re likely to be released and have a chance to disappear into the shadows.
Dubbed “catch-and-release,” those policies continue to bedevil the Border Patrol agents responsible for protecting the southern border.
Mr. Judd estimated a staggering three-quarters of migrants agents nab at the border are eventually released into the country under catch-and-release policies.
That means that of the nearly 39,000 agents arrested last month, perhaps 30,000 will be set free.
The numbers are all the more stunning because they represent such a reversal from last year when Mr. Trump was overseeing the biggest drop in illegal immigration in history. The rate of illegal crossers had dropped to four-decade lows by April 2017.
“Smugglers quickly realized everything was status quo, and they’re once again recruiting people to enter our country illegally,” he said.
But they said a lack of detention bed space and demands set by federal courts still force catch-and-release for many illegal immigrants.
For example, in the case of a mother and child caught at the border, a court order generally limits Homeland Security to 20 days’ detention. That’s usually too short a time to complete their deportation case, so they are released with the hope they return for their deportation hearings later. That hope is often frustrated.