Following an unprecedented order from immigration chiefs on Thursday, the city of El Paso, Texas received 1,122 asylum seekers from Customs and Border Protection.
According to data published by the city, that’s around five times more than are usually released on any given day in the last three months.
It followed a memo from Border Patrol Chief Raoul Ortiz which directed facilities across the Southern Border which were over 125% capacity to release migrants into the US without an arranged court date or place and time to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Congressman Tony Gonzales (R) Texas said he understands border facilities are out of space, but said Ortiz’ order was a risky move.
He told The Post: “This thing’s only getting worse but it’s the most dangerous thing when you release someone without a court date or a court date years from now. It only encourages even more [migrants].”
On Thursday, five of the nine facilities in the Southwest region were said to be over capacity. Border Patrol said it had reached record figures this week surpassing 10,000 border crossers apprehended a day for the first time Monday to Wednesday.
An analysis of figures from El Paso’s Migrant Situational Awareness Dashboard showed that in the 12 weeks previous, an average between 189 and 526 migrants were released per day – well below those given passage into the US following Ortiz’ order.
The free for all was quickly halted by a federal court ruling on Thursday night by a Florida judge, which ruled CBP must retain people in custody until it has properly processed them, gathered their biometric dat and either set a court date or appointment at a field office for them to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Judge T. Kent Wetherell issued the order after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed suit against the Biden Administration challenging the policy.
El Paso said it had taken in 1,700 additional people at the border seeking asylum on Thursday aheda of the end of Title 42.
By Friday its migrant facilities were reported to be at 184% capacity, with 6,242 migrants in CBP custody — approximately the same number it had held all week prior to the expiry of Title 42.
Beginning Friday migrants are being processed under Title 8, which is a stricter policy which allows for illegal border crossers to be deported and banned.
El Paso said those released to them Thursday were placed into hotels if they were single men and women and 150 people who were part of families were given shelter at a local school.
When asked why only 150 people had been moved to one shelter, El Paso mayor Oscar Leeser said at a city council question and answer Friday: “The law kind of changed a little bit yesterday saying they need to set up court dates, which is going to slow [border patrol] down a bit, but we are ready to assist [the migrants] as needed.”
“We will continue to help asylum seekers who are released to get to wherever they want to go [in the US].”
US border officials have apprehended nearly 70,000 illegal migrants in the past week alone — including sex offenders and gang members — as well as drugs and weapons, officials said Friday.
Nearly 16,000 illegal migrants escaped capture, tweeted US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz.
Detainees included five sex offenders, four gang members and two felons, authorities said.
Border agents also recovered 56 pounds of fentanyl, 179 pounds of methamphetamine, 34 pounds of cocaine, 5 pounds of heroin and seven firearms.
Officials have attempted to manage a massive surge in illegal migration after the expiration of the Title 42 public health order, which allowed for rapid deportations during the COVID-19 pandemic.