With processing and holding centers overwhelmed, the United States has expanded its practice of “catch and release” of illegal immigrant families from Central America seeking asylum.
The families are being bused hundreds of miles inland and released at Greyhound stations and churches, the Associated Press reported.
A public health crisis is developing, according to relief organizations, which are struggling to meet the families’ basic needs.
“If this was a hurricane, FEMA would be on the ground helping,” Jim Gannon, CEO and executive director of Catholic Charities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told the AP.
In the past, the migrant families seeking asylum were released and allowed to live with family or friends while their cases were processed, usually over several years. But with record-high numbers of families crossing the border, immigration officials have warned the system is at a breaking point.
Families, consequently, have been released in greater numbers and at points farther removed from the border, the AP said.
Dramatic videos have surfaced showing smugglers in the area of Yuma, Arizona, taking immigrant families across the border, including through a hole in border fencing, the Associated Press said in a separate report.
More than 125,000 illegal border crossers have been released since Dec. 21, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Ramos: ‘Nobody can stop them’
The solution to the border surge, contends Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, is simply to legalize illegal immigrants, because “nobody can really stop them” from entering the United States, Breitbart reported.
“The U.S. economy has been absorbing them and it seems that we have to realize that the only way to deal with this is in a legal way,” Ramos told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday night.
“Just to understand that legally they are going to keep coming and there is really nothing we can do to stop them.”
Ramos, noting that, annually, more than 300,000 immigrants have entered the U.S. illegally for a decade, insisted Central American countries and Mexico “are not the immigration police of Donald Trump.”
Trump has threatened to shut down the border if Mexico and Central American nations don’t act to stop the surge.
Ramos contended that regardless of how much is spent trying to solve the crisis, he said, governments “simply don’t have the power to stop that from becoming reality.”
Meanwhile, the transfer of Border Patrol agents to immigration duties to handle the migrant surge had led to up to 12 hours of gridlock for truck drivers at several border crossings, Reuters reported.
On Wednesday, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., introduced a bill to make children who came to the country with illegal-alien parents, so-called Dreamers, eligible to work as staffers or interns in Congress, Politico reported.
Harris, Politico said, is trying to seize the immigration issue from 2020 rival Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, the Spanish-speaking former congressman from El Paso, Texas.
Former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, announced a plan Tuesday to create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and reform immigration enforcement.
Harris said in a statement that a giant sign outside her office says “DREAMers Welcome Here,” because “we know and value the contributions that these young people have made to their communities.”
“Government works best when it reflects the people it represents,” she said.