Dozens of illegal immigrants who were stopped by US authorities at the Texas border over the weekend were freed and allowed to continue on their way — without any notice of a future court date, according to a Democratic lawmaker.
Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar — who released dire photos Monday from inside a US detention camp for unaccompanied migrant children — told Border Report that the “unprecedented’’ move is the result of a severely strained system.
“Over the weekend, at [the] Anzalduas area by the bridge, there were about 150 folks got released under what we call ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ because Border Patrol says, ‘We just don’t have the space,’ ” Cuellar said, referring to an area near the banks of the Rio Grande south of Mission in his district.
“And they got released without even a ‘Notice To Appear,’ which is, in my opinion, unprecedented that you’re going to release somebody and hope that they show up without a court date,” Cuellar said.
“I’m not blaming Border Patrol, but to hear they had no choice tells you how critical the situation is down at the border,” he said.
Migrants caught trying to illegally enter the country typically get at least formal court documents with a date to appear to have their cases adjudicated.
The freed illegals were “family units,’’ meaning adults and children, Cuellar said. The adults were checked to make sure they didn’t have criminal records, he said.
The US Department of Homeland Security acknowledged to Border Report in a statement, “In some cases, families are placed in removal proceedings further along in the release process rather than while they are at the border patrol station.
“All families, however, are screened at the border patrol station, including the collection of biographical and biometric information and criminal and national security records checks.’’
Cuellar on Tuesday added to “Fox & Friends’’ of the incident, “If somebody has an asylum claim, a credible fear claim, then I think they should ask for that.
“But I’d rather have them do it in their country instead of coming down here and then being released and not knowing if they’re going to show up later at a different time,” he said.
The rep said he released photos from inside one US child detention facility to show the sites are “not equipped to handle young people and families — they were set up to handle adults.
“And I think under the pandemic it makes it even more important to understand why this is important to understand what’s happening at this facility,” he said.
“The administration just has to move them faster into the Health and Human Services facilities.”
The Biden administration is under fire amid the deluge of illegal immigrants, particularly unaccompanied minors, trying to enter the US, given his softened related policies.