As President Trump continues to personally pressure the Mexican government on stopping the flow of illegal immigration into the United States from the southern border, his administration is working to end "catch-and-release" policies.
According to senior White House officials, illegal aliens who aren't from Mexico or Canada are nearly impossible to deport once they make it inside the United States. They say legal loopholes in current immigration law forces Border Patrol and I.C.E. agents to process individuals after entry into the country. After asking for asylum they are given a court date, which they rarely show up to and released into American communities. Then, after claiming reasonable fear of their home countries, which coyotes and cartels train many people to do, they're allowed to stay in the U.S. indefinitely.
Senior White House officials say changes to the well intentioned but severely abused Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 are necessary to clean up the system and make it more efficient.
"Porous borders, legal loopholes, and insufficient immigration enforcement resources allow aliens to illegally cross our borders and often prevent their removal once here. Waves of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) and Family Units have been exploiting these weaknesses in our immigration system for years in order to enter and remain in the country," the White House released Monday.
"Catch and release loopholes, which are the result of statutory and judicial obstacles, encourage illegal immigration into the U.S. and prevent the removal of aliens once they are here. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can only detain UACs for a few days before releasing them to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for resettlement into the United States. Immigration enforcement efforts are further hamstrung by the fact that current federal law exempts UACs from non-contiguous countries, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, from being promptly returned to their home countries. This results in nationals from these and other countries entering and never leaving," the statement continues. "Foreign nationals see how easy it is to enter the United States, and how hard it is for federal immigration authorities to remove aliens who enter illegally, and are accordingly drawn to the United States. In the absence of lasting solutions to the problems that riddle our immigration system, we can only expect the flow of illegal immigration into our country to continue."
In the meantime, the Department of Justice has implemented new grading standards for immigration judges to speed up processing times in an effort to clear severely clogged case lines.
The Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review says judges must complete 700 cases a year to earn a satisfactory grade. They currently are completing an average of 678 cases per year, according to the Justice official.
The new request averages to about three per day, and judges with high caseloads can appeal internally to waive the requirement.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who oversees the immigration courts, has called repeatedly for more speed as an increase in deportation arrests has pushed the court backlog above 650,000 cases.
President Trump tweeted in reference to these issues Monday night.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the laws of our country do not easily allow us to send those crossing our Southern Border back where they came from. A whole big wasted procedure must take place. Mexico & Canada have tough immigration laws, whereas ours are an Obama joke. ACT CONGRESS— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018