The Trump administration has faced a lack of space in detention facilities and will reportedly halt the detaining of some migrant families who illegally cross the border in Texas.
Starting from this week, the administration will release hundreds of families caught each day in the Rio Grande Valley, instead of handing them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible longer detention, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
ICE’s three family detention centers can hold several thousand people at a time and under current law, families with children can spend up to 20 days in them.
Government officials said that under the new policy families will be processed by the Border Patrol and then released and ordered to show up later to start their deportation or asylum cases. Adults will be given ankle monitors to track their movement, which is not the case with children. The exact number of released families will depend on the room available in detention facilities.
The policy is in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s “catch-and-detain” practice. Last year, he signed an order to end “catch-and-release” vowing to detain migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and complaining that border agents “are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release.”
The officials further pointed out that security concerns prompted them to make the change, especially after conditions at these facilities were put under scrutiny following the two child deaths in December.
Thousands of migrants have crossed the border near the Rio Grande Valley in recent months. The Journal informs that in the period between October and February, about 58,000 migrants fleeing violence, poverty, and corruption have crossed the southern border, seeking asylum in the U.S.