News & Politics

Trump Orders End to 'Catch and Release' Program for Illegal Aliens

People pass graffiti along the border structure in Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Julie Watson)

Donald Trump signed a memo on Friday ordering the end to the Bush-era program that allowed illegals caught at the border to be released from detention pending the outcome of their legal proceedings.

“Catch and release” began during the administration of George W. Bush and was greatly expanded during the Obama years.

The Hill:

The memo signed by Trump orders the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with other agencies, to submit a report to the president within 45 days “detailing all measures that their respective departments have pursued or are pursuing to expeditiously end ‘catch and release’ practices.”

The report instructs departments to share information on any contracts to construct or operate detention facilities along the border as well as steps taken to assign asylum officers at detention facilities, among other measures.

As part of the order, Trump is requesting “a detailed list of all existing facilities, including military facilities, that could be used, modified, or repurposed to detain aliens for violations of immigration law at or near the borders of the United States.”

Trump has also directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to identify any other resources or steps “that may be needed to expeditiously end ‘catch and release’ practices.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterized catch and release, the practice of paroling detained immigrants who await a court’s determination on their status, as “dangerous.”

The policy has been a slap in the face to U.S. sovereignty and reached ridiculous levels when immigration authorities during the Obama years would actually provide transportation for illegals to other U.S. cities.

The claim that it was a “humanitarian” policy will be put to the test as Trump’s order is sure to be challenged in court. With that in mind, the president has ordered an evaluation of other detention sites like military bases to house illegals caught at the border until their cases could be adjudicated. This should reduce overcrowding and address what is sure to be a major objection to ending the catch and release policy.

The flow of illegals into the U.S. has diminished under Trump and deportations are up. But there is little doubt that, in the short term, facilities housing illegals will be strained. But it will be a small price to pay to end a policy that let some criminals and, potentially, terrorists into the country only to have them disappear into the illegal alien underground.