Illegal immigration could bloom into an "invasion" if Joe Biden wins the presidency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Morgan said actions President Donald Trump has taken have drastically cut down the number of detained illegal immigrants who are caught and released back into the U.S. He said under Biden, however, that number could skyrocket.
"If the wall is no longer allowed to continue to be built, if MPP goes away, what you're going to see is a resurgence of catch-and-release," said Morgan, referencing what's called the Migrant Protection Protocols. "You're not going to see a crisis; you're going to see an invasion.
"The human smuggling organizations are telling them, 'Make your way. America's opening back up. You're going to get free healthcare.'"
The Washington Times reported on Morgan's remarks.
Morgan explained that CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released in excess of 400,000 people into the U.S. in fiscal year 2019 as part of catch-and-release protocols. In fiscal year 2020, which ended in September, that number plummeted 96% to fewer than 15,000.
Among the steps taken by the Trump administration are working closer with Mexico and Central American countries to stop migrants from entering the U.S. and enacting stricter asylum rules.
Biden could take executive actions to undo several of Trump's immigration policies, including stopping construction of a border wall, softening asylum policies, and restoring catch-and-release, which means illegal immigrants who are caught are released into the U.S. as they await a court date.
During last week's debate between Trump and Biden, the former vice president said Trump's policies have left migrants "sitting in squalor on the other side of the river."
ICE, meanwhile, reported this week that a court order in California forced it to release 250 immigrants with criminal records back into the U.S. A federal judge issued the order, saying it would help slow the spread of the coronavirus among prisoners.
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