Hundreds of illegals released in Phoenix just the beginning, says DHS

Hundreds of illegal aliens have been released in Phoenix as family detention centers reach capacity and there's no place to put newcomers.

A DHS official told NBC News that the release is the "start of the dam breaking" as a spike in illegal border crossings continues.  The official added, "You'll start to see this all across the southern border soon."

The reason, the official said, is the growing number of immigrant families coming to the U.S. seeking asylum.  In August, the latest month for which data is available, more than 12,700 parents and children traveling together were apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, up from 4,193 in August 2017.

ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen O'Keefe said because of the volume of families presenting themselves along the Arizona border, ICE can no longer review each immigrant's travel plans prior to release without violating a federal court agreement, known as the Flores settlement, that limits the amount of time children can be detained to 20 days.

"To mitigate that risk, ICE began to curtail such reviews in Arizona beginning Sunday, October 7," O'Keefe said.

Immediately, churches and nonprofit organizations in Arizona began to feel the effect of that policy.  A representative of a church in Phoenix, who asked not to be named in order to avoid retaliation by anti-immigration protesters, said she received word from ICE it would begin bringing the immigrants over the weekend.

By Monday night, her church was providing shelter, food, showers and Greyhound bus tickets to more than 100 immigrants.  Previously, the largest number of immigrants the church had sheltered was about 30, she estimates.

Statistics on whether the illegals will show up for their court dates vary wildly.  Families with children seeking asylum are the most likely to show up for court, but the overall no-show rate is about 33%, with most of those eventually being under deportation orders.

It should be noted that almost all of these families "present themselves" at the border asking for asylum.  A wall wouldn't necessarily stop them, although it would limit their options. 

The actions taken by DHS to relieve the overflow are indicative of a broken, absurd immigration system.  The adult illegals who are released wear ankle monitors, but who is responsible for tracking them?  With a waiting period of 15 months or more to go before a judge, it seems ridiculous to believe that most illegal aliens will even bother to make a court appearance.  

The president wants many more immigration judges, but it takes years to hire them.  Meanwhile, immigration judges are retiring at a record rate, resulting in the backlog of cases growing.  Any meaningful immigration reform legislation is a non-starter, given the current political climate.  So we continue to muddle on with a broken system that doesn't protect our national security or ordinary citizens.

Hundreds of illegal aliens have been released in Phoenix as family detention centers reach capacity and there's no place to put newcomers.

A DHS official told NBC News that the release is the "start of the dam breaking" as a spike in illegal border crossings continues.  The official added, "You'll start to see this all across the southern border soon."

The reason, the official said, is the growing number of immigrant families coming to the U.S. seeking asylum.  In August, the latest month for which data is available, more than 12,700 parents and children traveling together were apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, up from 4,193 in August 2017.

ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen O'Keefe said because of the volume of families presenting themselves along the Arizona border, ICE can no longer review each immigrant's travel plans prior to release without violating a federal court agreement, known as the Flores settlement, that limits the amount of time children can be detained to 20 days.

"To mitigate that risk, ICE began to curtail such reviews in Arizona beginning Sunday, October 7," O'Keefe said.

Immediately, churches and nonprofit organizations in Arizona began to feel the effect of that policy.  A representative of a church in Phoenix, who asked not to be named in order to avoid retaliation by anti-immigration protesters, said she received word from ICE it would begin bringing the immigrants over the weekend.

By Monday night, her church was providing shelter, food, showers and Greyhound bus tickets to more than 100 immigrants.  Previously, the largest number of immigrants the church had sheltered was about 30, she estimates.

Statistics on whether the illegals will show up for their court dates vary wildly.  Families with children seeking asylum are the most likely to show up for court, but the overall no-show rate is about 33%, with most of those eventually being under deportation orders.

It should be noted that almost all of these families "present themselves" at the border asking for asylum.  A wall wouldn't necessarily stop them, although it would limit their options. 

The actions taken by DHS to relieve the overflow are indicative of a broken, absurd immigration system.  The adult illegals who are released wear ankle monitors, but who is responsible for tracking them?  With a waiting period of 15 months or more to go before a judge, it seems ridiculous to believe that most illegal aliens will even bother to make a court appearance.  

The president wants many more immigration judges, but it takes years to hire them.  Meanwhile, immigration judges are retiring at a record rate, resulting in the backlog of cases growing.  Any meaningful immigration reform legislation is a non-starter, given the current political climate.  So we continue to muddle on with a broken system that doesn't protect our national security or ordinary citizens.