A Homeland Security plan to ease the rules governing the detention of illegal immigrant families is drawing fire from GOP lawmakers. One Senate staffer warned that federal authorities can't even remove the thousands of undocumented immigrants who've already been ordered out of the country.
According to the Washington Examiner
, GOP critics say the plan to release families from detention on bond if they can argue they face persecution in their homeland will only create more of an incentive for migrants to make an illegal crossing into the United States.
"This is insane," one source told the newspaper. "Does [Homeland Security Sec.] Jeh Johnson really think ISIS won't take notice?"
A Republican Senate staffer told Newsmax that efforts to remove illegal immigrants who have already been ordered deported have proven difficult.
Citing a Department of Justice internal document covering July 18, 2014 through last May 26, the staffer notes some 77,000 adults and children were apprehended for illegal entry and issued a "notice to appear," but most either got administrative or judicial amnesty, were ordered deported "in absentia," or are awaiting action.
"Even the slim few ordered removed — about 3,000 — were by no means actually removed," the staffer told Newsmax. "The vast majority of the aliens who appear in court are not in custody, either before and after the hearing."
"The number of aliens in the United States with removal orders but who have not been removed totals around 900,000, including nearly 170,000 criminal aliens," the staffer added.
After tens of thousands of migrant families, most from Central America, crossed the Rio Grande into Texas last summer, the government poured millions of dollars into two large detention centers meant to hold women and children. The centers are in Karnes City and Dilley, both located south of San Antonio. A third facility is located in Berks County, Pa.
At the end of last month, there were 1,834 individuals being held at the three facilities, according to immigration officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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