The Obama administration continues to flagrantly disregard our nation’s immigration laws. According to Judicial Watch, the Department of Homeland Security has been transporting illegal immigrants from the Mexican border to Phoenix and releasing them without processing their paperwork or issuing court appearance documents.
Sources at Border Patrol informed Judicial Watch that the transported individuals are being classified as “Other Than Mexican” (OTM) and are coming from Honduras, Colombia, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The agents claim that 35 OTMs were transferred 116 miles from Tucson to a Phoenix bus station after being in custody for only a few days.
Judicial Watch reports,
A security company contracted by the U.S. government is driving the OTMs from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector where they were in custody to Phoenix, sources said. The firm is called G4S and claims to be the world’s leading security solutions group with operations in more than 100 countries and 610,000 employees.
The OTMs are reportedly told to contact family members in the United States to provide them the money to purchase the bus tickets, but taxpayers ultimately foot the cost of the bus ticket for those who claim to have “credible fear.” Meanwhile, the agents are not asking for evidence that the family members are here legally, nor are they issuing court appearance documents, asking only that the OTMs “promise” to show up for a hearing when summoned.
DHS denies these claims, but law-enforcement officials state that the DHS has issued these directives because they do not have the room to detain the illegals. They’re telling us to put them on a bus and let them go,” said one law-enforcement official in Arizona. “Just move those bodies across the country.”
This report, part of an ongoing Judicial Watch investigation into the security risks along the southern border, features only a snippet of a much broader crisis in which illegal aliens are being released and vanishing into unsuspecting American communities,” Judicial Watch writes.
This is not the first report on the federal government’s new catch-and-release policy, however. According to March congressional testimony by Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, Border Patrol agents have been instructed by a top official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release illegal immigrants caught attempting to sneak into the country so as to not clutter the courts. Judd indicates that this is the policy even in some criminal cases.
Judd’s testimony echoes the findings by Judicial Watch, noting that the administration’s catch-and-release policy amounts to "amnesty,” as the illegal immigrants are not even being issued a Notice to Appear, NTA, which is required in order to begin deportation proceedings.
Efforts by Border Patrol agents to address concerns raised with the implementation of catch-and-release have been ignored, Judd testified, indicating that when agents voiced their concerns to Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, he virtually told them that the Border Patrol has more important areas on which to focus. "Deputy Secretary Mayorkas told us that the Border Patrol needs to focus its resources towards the worst of the worst. He said that by prioritizing those we choose to deport, we will help alleviate the burden on an already overburdened court system," Judd recalled.
"He further stated, 'Why would we NTA those we have no intention of deporting?' He also stated, 'We should not place someone in deportation proceedings, when the courts already have a 3-6 year backlog,'" Judd continued. "Since the day of this meeting, we have seen no improvements in our enforcement efforts and the morale of the Border Patrol agents is one of, if not the lowest in the entire federal government."
Judd further noted in his written testimony that agents have been instructed not to interview illegal immigrant children that continue to cross the border.
Judd gave similar testimony on the Obama administration’s reinstatement of President Bush’s catch-and-release policy before Congress in February, when he testified on the border surge of immigrant minors. "The willful failure to show up for court appearances by persons that were arrested and released by the Border Patrol has become an extreme embarrassment for the Department of Homeland Security. It has been so embarrassing that DHS and the U.S. attorney's office has come up with a new policy," he testified before the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.
Judd told Congress that the policy involving Obama administration’s so-called deportation priorities — those who arrived after December 31, 2013 — does “not require the person to prove they have been here [since January of 2014] … it simply requires them to claim to have been here since January of 2014.”
Judicial Watch is currently conducting an ongoing investigation into the security risks along the southern border, including the administration’s catch-and-release policy. As such, Judicial Watch reports that it has filed a number of public records requests to gain information regarding the relationship between the G4S and the federal government, particularly how it pertains to the transportation of the illegal immigrants.