MISSION, Texas (AP) — Overwhelmed and underprepared, U.S. authorities are releasing migrant families on the Mexican border without notices to appear in immigration court or sometimes without any paperwork at all — a time-saving move that has left migrants confused.
The rapid releases ease pressure on the Border Patrol and its badly overcrowded holding facilities but shifts work to Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, the agency that enforces immigration laws within the United States. Families are released with booking records — when they get paperwork at all — though only parents are photographed and fingerprinted.
The Border Patrol began the unusual practice last week in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, which has seen the biggest increase in the number of migrant families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border. Last week, the agency added instructions to report to an ICE office within 60 days to adults’ booking documents.