Family Units in ICE Custody Being Released

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WESLACO – An immigrant shelter in the Rio Grande Valley is not the only one seeing an influx of people being released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned this is all part of a coordinated release.

On Wednesday, Catholic Charities Respite Center Director Norma Pimentel told us they’re overwhelmed by the number of individuals at the temporary shelter.

“Specifically this week, the numbers have even gotten higher. We’re looking at hundreds every day that are being released and given permission to continue their process,” she says.

The previous day, ICE began releasing more families under their custody along the Southwest border, including the Valley which is part of the San Antonio Area of Responsibility.

The agency confirmed the decision in the following statement, which reads in part:

After decades of inaction by Congress, the government remains severely constrained in its ability to detain and promptly remove families with no legal basis to remain in the U.S. As a result, family units continue to cross the border at high volumes and are likely to continue to do so, as they face no consequence for their actions.

To mitigate the risk of holding family units past the timeframe allotted to the government, ICE began curtailing all reviews of post-release plans from families apprehended along the southwest border starting on Tuesday, October 23. Family units that are released will be enrolled in a form of ICE's Alternatives to Detention or released on another form of supervision. 

Aliens will be issued a Notice to Appear in immigration court, as appropriate. ICE continues to work with local and state officials and NGO partners in the area so they are prepared to provide assistance with transportation or other services.

This year, the Valley has seen over 10,000 more family units than during the surge of 2014.


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