President Donald Trump’s administration had no choice except surrender to the terms of the “Flores Settlement.” They now have only 20 days to process “asylum seekers” before they’re required to be released from detention, so the floodgates have been opened.
Around 400 illegal immigrant families were turned loose on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona this week. Thousands will follow. “This is the start of a dam breaking, you’ll start to see this all across the southern border soon,” ICE spokesperson Yasmeen O’Keefe warns in a statement.
“Customs enforcement officers are releasing families from detention ‘en masse’ without following their usual protocol that ensures immigrants have a means to travel to their court hearing and reunite with potential relatives,” gasps NBC News.
President Barack Obama’s administration rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants. “Prior to Sunday,” CNN whines, “the agency carried out reviews.”
To comply with liberal demands, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency decided they could speed things up and do away with a waste of taxpayer funds at the same time.
ICE previously confirmed bus routes, coordinated non-government organizations and churches, phoned family members, and verified “that asylum seekers had a means to reach a final destination within the United States before release from custody.”
Those days are over. Uncle Sam isn’t a travel agent. Responsible adults who seek citizenship in the land of opportunity are expected to make their own travel plans and show up for scheduled appointments independently.
Migrants are being fitted with ankle monitors, given an appointment slip for their court date and escorted to the door. From there, they are free to go, with whatever resources they brought along, until they get their day in court. Then, they may or may not be deported.
“After decades of inaction by Congress, the government has remained severely constrained in its ability to detain and promptly remove families that have no legal basis to remain in the United States,” asserts O’Keefe.
“In light of the incredibly high volume of [family units] presenting themselves along the Arizona border, ICE no longer has the capacity to conduct these reviews without risking violation of the Flores limitations on lengths of stay for minors in both CBP and ICE custody,” she noted.
The government doesn’t have the time or money to start from scratch with “tengo un primo,” (I have a cousin) to track down an immigrant’s relative for a family reunion. The reviews for a “post-release plan” are “time and resource intensive” which delays the release of families “by several days,” O’Keefe asserts.
Family detention centers now holding “thousands of migrants” are bursting at the seams. The August report shows, “more than 12,700 parents and children traveling together” were snagged at the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to O’Keefe, with that kind of volume there is no way to “review each immigrant’s travel plans prior to release,” without violating the Flores settlement. “To mitigate that risk, ICE began to curtail such reviews in Arizona beginning Sunday, October 7.”
They were only a “courtesy” extended by the Obama administration, she explains. There is no obligation to perform the service. This was a “self-imposed process, there is no requirement that these reviews be conducted.”
Sanctuary providing churches who encourage illegal migration were the first to notice. One church representative, who requested to remain anonymous “in order to avoid retaliation by anti-immigration protesters” got a heads-up from ICE over the weekend to expect a bus-load.
“By Monday night, her church was providing shelter, food, showers and Greyhound bus tickets to more than 100 immigrants,” she told NBC. The most they handled at one time before that was about 30.
She really freaked out when she found out they didn’t have prearranged travel plans. “ICE did not tell her church that many had not been helped with those arrangements.”
“We are all sitting here, all volunteers, all running around making sure we have enough pizza to feed lunch to everyone,” she complained.
She also learned just how much work goes into tracking down relatives, from nothing much to go on. “We spend so much time with the minutiae that we really don’t know what’s going on. No one has told us this is part of a broader policy.”
Conservatives love the plan, if the churches seem so gung-ho to help out immigrants, let them do it, many say.
Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix is one such organization with a history of supporting immigrants, they tell local news station KTAR. In February, “Shadow Rock United gave sanctuary to a man facing deportation for a third time, allowing him to remain in the U.S. with his sick child and pregnant wife.”
Around 100 more migrants are being processed there. “If it is a question of a family spending the night in chairs at the bus station waiting to travel, we know the answer is simple.”
“We will provide a safe place to sleep, food to eat, showers and companionship to our neighbors while they prepare for the next leg of their journey,” a press release announced Tuesday.
Shadow Rock’s pastor, Ken Heintzelman, elaborated in an email to KTAR, “the church is expecting to house most of the asylum seekers through the middle of the week, until they can connect with family and friends to arrange travel elsewhere across the country.”
“We have done this before, but not for this large number of guests. Sometimes we are preparing for 20-25 and no one shows up, sometimes we are preparing for 6-10 and 20-25 show up,” Liz Curry, President of the Board of Shadow Rock added.
“This is by far the largest group with even increased needs because they were given no finances to help them find their families.”