Border Patrol released into the U.S. more than 283,000 migrants who crossed the southern border during the past year, according to official data shared with the Washington Examiner.
The numbers appear to refute the Biden administration’s claims that it immediately turned away adults and families attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, the Examiner reported Friday.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, shared the data with the Examiner.
The number of releases showed that 1 in 6 of 1.66 million migrants who crossed between land ports of entry were released by Border Patrol between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30.
Prior to being overwhelmed by the influx of migrants, Border Patrol would turn over apprehended individuals to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Examiner said the near 300,000 releases — 95,000 of which are not tracked by the government — were separate from hundreds of thousands of other migrants released into the U.S. by other government entities, including the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, and Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"The Mexican president and the Guatemalan president are saying that the [Biden] administration has given the impression of open borders," Cuellar told the Examiner. "You can imagine what the word on the street is over there, and that's why we keep getting people coming in."
Earlier this week, it was reported that DHS has reversed a Trump-era policy limiting the entry of asylum-seekers at land ports of entry on the southern border.
The Trump-era practice essentially created a waitlist that allowed migrants to enter only if the department had the capacity to process and detain them at one of its facilities.
Official Customs and Border Protection statistics show that more than 1.7 million encounters occurred at the Southwest border in the past 12 months. After averaging little more than 74,000 between October and January, Border Patrol has encountered an average of nearly 180,000 migrants between February and September.
The Examiner said Border Patrol officials have been so overwhelmed by the volume of migrants, they have released some without providing the migrants legal documents that demand they appear before an immigration judge.
Of the 283,000 releases noted by the Examiner, about 95,000 were released with "Notices to Report" — meaning they are told to check in at an ICE office in the city they wish to live. There’s no record of those individuals in the court system, so they are untracked by the government.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, families and adults encountered at the border would be arrested, and then likely released by ICE into the U.S. with notices of when to appear in court. Thus, they could be tracked by government officials.
Families and adults now are being released directly by Border Patrol.
The Examiner reported that more than 120,000 children also have been released into the U.S. by HHS in fiscal year 2021.
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