Border Crisis

Biden Admin Quietly Begins Trump-Like Speedy Migrant Removals in Texas Border Town

EAGLE PASS, Texas — According to a source within CBP, fewer and fewer migrant releases are taking place in the small border city of Eagle Pass, Texas. Where nearly 1,600 migrants were released to a non-government shelter daily in recent months, less than 50 are currently finding their way into the interior of the United States in a bid to achieve asylum. The source says most migrants at a soft-sided processing facility are being detained while accelerated asylum interviews take place. The migrants are then quickly placed on flights back to their home country.

The source, not authorized to speak to the media, told Breitbart Texas that the soft-sided facility near Eagle Pass is routinely detaining between 300 and 500 migrants — down from an average of 5,000 as recently as December. The source says the swift decline in migrant crossings resulting from significant efforts in Mexico to contain migrants to the southernmost states in Mexico is allowing the Biden administration to carry out the speedy return of migrants in a similar fashion not seen since, or before, the Trump administration.

The prioritization of detained migrants for the Credible Fear Interviews allows the migrants who fail the interview to be immediately returned to their home country using the Border Patrol’s Expedited Removal authority. The process bypasses an appearance before an immigration judge. Accelerating this process was not an option until Mexico slowed the flow of migrant crossings into Eagle Pass, the source explained.

According to ICE, in FY 2022, the agency relied on Alternatives to Detention (ATD) for family units, ensuring most would be released into the United States. ICE stopped housing families entirely by December 2021. Although ICE is not formally detaining family units under its authority, the migrant family units undergoing the accelerated asylum processes are housed under Border Patrol authority in the soft-sided facility known as “Firefly. ”

The source told Breitbart Texas the new procedures are a welcome turn of events for Border Patrol agents who have been relegated to processing migrants who are generally released into the United States under the Biden administration’s policies. Frustrating the agents, according to the source, is that the Biden administration is not publicizing the accelerated asylum processing and removals, negating the deterrent effect the moves could have on future would-be border crossers. Likewise, the source says the significant efforts underway in Mexico are not being touted and advertised in countries outside of Mexico, which are the largest source of emigration to the United States.

“This is purely political and designed to reduce overcrowding and migrant border crossings in Texas, so folks forget what the border was like here just two months ago,” the source stated. “This should have been done three years ago. We could have prevented millions of migrant crossings and releases into the United States.”

The processes underway along the Texas border mirror Trump-era programs eliminated early on by the Biden administration. One such program, PACR (Prompt Asylum Claim Review), mirrors the new procedures underway at Firefly. Migrants who recently entered the United States illegally and are being held in Border Patrol custody are prioritized over the millions awaiting their initial Credible Fear Interview to ensure that prompt removals take place at the border.

The migrant removals, including entire family units, use ICE Air Operations flights departing from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. The flights are occurring almost daily, according to the source. Commercial flight tracking showed one such flight departing to Colombia on Tuesday. The source says there are still nationalities that are difficult to remove and that the program is used mainly on Central American, Colombian, and some Venezuelan migrants.

The source says agents are hopeful word of the new procedures to expedite removals at the border will spread once the deported migrants arrive in their home country. For now, little is being revealed by the Biden administration concerning the new procedures, including how long the programs will last. “If the new procedures were intended to be a long-term solution and not an election year gimmick to ease voter’s concerns about the border, it would have been done a long time ago,” the source emphasized.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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