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Border Patrol to release foreign nationals en masse into communities as Title 42 ends

By Bethany Blankley
The Center Square

Instead of U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehending, detaining and deporting people who’ve illegally entered the U.S., they will be implementing a plan decided on last year to release them en masse into local border communities.

The public health authority Title 42, which has given Border Patrol agents an additional tool to deport certain individuals, was slated to end last May. On May 20, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana enjoined the repeal of Title 42 in a case filed by 24 states, issuing a nationwide injunction.

The federal court order was the only thing that stopped CBP from enacting its policy of releasing foreign nationals en masse into local border communities. The federal injunction imposed last May halted the administration from ending Title 42.

After President Joe Biden ended the national public emergency implemented under the Trump administration to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Title 42, which can only be utilized during a public health emergency, will expire Thursday (May 11).

While Fox News reported on Tuesday that CBP and Border Patrol made a decision Monday night to “authorize all Border Patrol sectors to begin ‘safe’ street releases of migrants to communities across the border *if* NGO shelters and CBP facilities do not have the capacity to hold them,” this isn’t a new plan.

It’s been a plan in place for over a year, which The Center Square first reported on last September. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody uncovered the plan as part of discovery in a lawsuit Florida filed against the administration over its “catch and release” policy.

Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez also told local Texas law enforcement last December she was working with local municipalities to learn where foreign nationals should be released into their communities when shelters, NGOs and nonprofits assisting them were at capacity. A recording of her remarks was provided to The Center Square, which broke this story ahead of her giving testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in February.

In a May 19, 2022, memo, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz instructed Border Patrol agents to release “processed noncitizens in the vicinity of nongovernmental organizations” and coordinate with NGOs in advance as to the specific locations where they’d be released, “paying particular attention to the availability of services and transportation options.”

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