The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing to release around 600,000 illegal immigrants into communities by the end of September. The agency has intimated the decision to a federal judge. This figure is an early estimation which the administration expects after it ends the Title 42 expulsion, a Covid-19 border policy.
The figure was disclosed in a court filing which dealt with the plans to address the situation of the illegal immigrant children who arrived due to the pandemic surge.
The Homeland Security Department is anticipating a "historic border surge, with projections forecasted to triple current arrivals," Deane Dougherty, ICE'S juvenile coordinator wrote in the filing. He added later that the ICE intends to catch and release as many as 3,000 immigrants every day, in comparison to 774 a day in March.
Homeland Security has estimated to catch at least 18,000 people a day crossing the border. Several will probably be caught to be released later by the Border Patrol prior to entering ICE custody, hence the releases may amount to a much higher figure than 600,000.
"...Given these forecasts and the recently announced decision to end Title 42 next month, ICE must shift its focus and prepare to manage its resources for a population of up to 600,000 by the end of the fiscal year," the coordinator explains further.
The fiscal year runs through Sept. 30, implying that the Federal law enforcement agency is now preparing for a release of more than 100,000 people a month between now and then. This would not only smash the previous records but also add to a massive previous backlog facing ICE.
The Biden administration, in the 2023 budget, aimed to either reduce the backlog by 5% or clear 185,000 cases, over the course of three years. It is, however, not confirmed whether the budget has considered the estimated releases by the ICE.
Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, explained: "...This document casually reveals that the Biden catch-and-release system resulting in the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers is not a strained or frenzied response to an emergency, not due to a lack of resources, and not the result of incompetence, but a deliberate and intentional policy."
Vaughan although questions the release of so many illegal immigrants amid Covid-19 further adding criminal concerns, as many "immigrant-heavy gangs like MS-13 and 18th street are feeding off the youths for growing their ranks."
The Homeland Security, however, has assured that the situation will not be the same this time as it has a few plans to transfer initial asylum decisions from immigration courts to officers at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Granting work permits will also be incorporated as an essential part of the said plans. This new procedure is therefore expected to result in just and quick decisions.