Illegal immigrants caught "still soaking wet" from crossing the Rio Grande have to be set free unless Border Patrol agents actually see them emerging from the water, a union official charges.
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, charged agents were given the verbal orders after President Barack Obama announced plans last November to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants
— effectively creating "an open border with Mexico," The Washington Times
"We have apprehended illegal aliens just north of the border who are still soaking wet from crossing the river," Judd testified, the Times reports. "If they claim, as increasingly they are doing, that they have been here since January 1, 2014, we will process and then release them."
"They are still wet from the river and miles from any civilization and on their word alone we release them unless we physically saw them cross the river," he added. "This policy de facto creates an open border with Mexico for any illegal alien who wants to claim that they were here before 2014."
Judd has testified before on the policy shift
, saying it's part of an ill-conceived "priorities" program that favors illegals without a criminal record who've been in the United States since January 2014.
The Border Patrol, in a statement to the Times, said it "has not issued any stand-down order to agents."
"The Border Patrol's enforcement posture and operation is the same as it was in 2014 and 2015, agents are issuing Notices to Appear consistent with law, regulation, and enforcement priorities," the Border Patrol said in a statement, the Times reports.
But Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and the Judiciary Committee's chairman, claims the Border Patrol policy has led to more illegal immigrants trying to make the trip into the United States.
"President Obama must end his disastrous open border policies so that we can begin to restore integrity to our immigration system and secure the border," he said, the Times reports.
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