Biden admin's plan for mass release of migrants into US outlined in internal 2022 memo
The memo outlined how releases would occur in a 'safe, humane and orderly' manner
FIRST ON FOX: A decision to authorize all Border Patrol Sectors to begin "safe" mass releases of migrants to city streets if non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are overcapacity will take place in line with a 2022 memo that was uncovered during legal proceedings initiated by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody last year and outlined how to handle releases when Title 42 ends.
Fox News on Tuesday reported that top border officials in Washington, D.C., have decided to authorize all Border Patrol Sectors to begin the releases if Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and NGOs can’t hold migrants. It means that they will be released at bus stops, gas stations, supermarkets and elsewhere.
The decision was made amid a surge of migrants across the border that has hit over 10,000 a day across multiple days this week. NGOs are already approaching their limits on capacity, and those numbers are expected to only get worse in the coming days when Title 42 — which allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic — expires.
BORDER PATROL APPREHENDS OVER 10,000 MIGRANTS A DAY AHEAD OF TITLE 42'S END, HIGHEST EVER RECORDED
The releases are in line with an internal memo published in May 2022 by Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, which outlined guidance for situations when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is unable to accept illegal immigrants due to a lack of space and instead, they must be released from custody to prevent overcrowding. The memo says that releases "should be conducted in the vicinity of [NGOs] which are able to provide further services" and that liaison officers will work to identify capacity and capabilities for "accepting releases, safe locations and times at which releases may be most appropriate."
The guidance says releases should be done "in a safe, humane, and orderly manner" and also outlines what should happen if NGO space is not available.
"Releases should be made at ‘hubs’ where noncitizens have access to services offered by NGOs, transportation hubs, and/or other safe locations," it says, adding that releases should be tracked by sector.
The memo also outlines factors Border Patrol should consider, including distance, timing, safety and transportation options.
Ortiz was asked about the memo during a July 28, 2022, deposition as part of a lawsuit by Attorney General Moody against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"It's a memorandum that I signed on May 19th, 2022, and it discusses the non-citizen releases from our custody," he said.
BORDER PATROL CLEARS WAY FOR MORE MIGRANT RELEASES TO CITY STREETS, SOURCES SAY
"In your experience, 31 years with the Border Patrol, have you ever seen a document— or have you ever seen a memorandum like Exhibit 3 before?" a lawyer asked him.
Ortiz replied, "No."
Since that deposition, a federal judge has blocked a separate policy that saw migrants being released through a process called "Parole + ATD [Alternatives to Detention]."
Moody’s chief of staff this week sought to check whether those releases reported by Fox News were taking place under an alternative policy.
A DOJ attorney from the Office of Immigration Litigation responded by saying that DHS has said the releases will be occurring "pursuant to the policy described in the May 19, 2022, memorandum from [Ortiz]..."
In a statement, Moody said that it shows DHS intends to "stand down" amid the surge in migration.
"We uncovered Biden’s disastrous plan almost a year ago, yet the corporate media ignored the overwhelming evidence that DHS plans to stand down as Title 42 expires and hundreds of thousands of migrants storm the Southwest Border," she said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
"Americans need to know that this crisis is about to kick into overdrive, and it is because of the deliberate dismantling of our public-safety immigration structures that Biden and [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas have been attacking since day one in office," Moody said.
On Wednesday, DHS clarified its policy and how it plans to conduct releases.
BIDEN ADMIN TALKS ‘TOUGHER’ ON BORDER AHEAD OF TITLE 42'S END — BUT MIGRANTS AREN'T LISTENING
"As Republican and Democratic administrations alike have done in the past to protect the safety and security of Border Patrol agents and migrants in the event of severe overcrowding conditions, U.S. Border Patrol sectors may consider releasing certain migrants who have undergone strict national security and public safety vetting to continue their immigration processes," a spokesperson said. "This may include processing migrants for parole to reduce the amount of time they spend in custody."
"Each parole will be considered on an individualized case-by-case basis, and individuals who are released will be required to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and undergo removal proceedings in immigration court. Individuals may be placed into an Alternatives to Detention program to ensure compliance, if deemed appropriate. The targeted use of parole will allow Border Patrol to focus its resources most effectively to quickly process and remove individuals who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Mayorkas said Wednesday there is a plan in place to deal with the surge in migration, but blamed the coming chaos on inaction by Congress.
"I cannot overemphasize that our current situation is the outcome of Congress leaving a broken, outdated immigration system in place for over two decades, despite unanimous agreement that we desperately need legislative reform. It is also the result of Congress' decision not to provide us with the resources we need and that we requested," he said.
Fox News' Bill Melugin and Pat Ward contributed to this report.