News by VICE

Border Patrol is releasing hundreds of migrants because it says there’s no room to detain them

CBP is reportedly releasing the migrants to local Catholic charities in the Rio Grande Valley.

by Rex Santus
Mar 20 2019, 4:21pm

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol released 50 recently apprehended migrants into the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday, and hundreds more are to be released, because there’s no room at ICE detention facilities, according to a report.

More than 200 additional undocumented immigrants — mostly families — will be released Wednesday, officials told the Los Angeles Times, because there simply is not any room to hold them at U.S. detainment facilities, and they can’t hold families for longer than 20 days. Usually, detained migrants are handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for processing, but CBP says resources are stretched thin due to a recent spike in border crossings.

The McAllen facility in the Rio Grande Valley, at Texas’ southernmost tip. — is the largest “immigration processing” facility in the U.S., with a capacity of 1,500 detainees, according to Esquire. Trump’s 2020 budget seeks to increase funding for ICE and to provide $2.7 billion for more beds for detainments. Democrats, meanwhile, have attempted to limit the amount of beds in ICE facilities to curb detainments.

CBP is reportedly releasing the migrants to local Catholic charities in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s not the first time CBP has released a large amount of migrants. Back in December, the U.S. government dispersed about 500 of them, which strained local shelters.

The agency did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment.

The amount of people caught crossing the border illegally did see a spike in February, according to CBP data. More than 66,000 people were apprehended by border agents in February, the most apprehended in a single month in nearly a decade. Border agents detained 67,000 people in March 2009. (The number of illegal border-crossings still remains far below the peak of 1.6 million border-crossings in 2000, despite what President Donald Trump’s administration claims about a “crisis.”)

Trump issued his first veto as president last week when Congress voted to cancel his declaration of a national emergency at the U.S. border so he could fund the construction of a border wall. On Friday, Trump claimed there was an “invasion” happening at the U.S.’s southern border — the same day that a white supremacist murdered 49 people at a mosque in New Zealand. Before the shooting, the killer published his manifesto, which said the country was experiencing an “invasion on a level never before seen in history.”

Cover: In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, photo, Darly Sotto, 21, of Guatemala holds her son, 1-year-old Jorge Sotto, as people check into the Catholic Charities shelter in McAllen, Texas. As parents flee Central America with their young children, advocates argue a border wall would not stop families and instead misjudges what they say is a humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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