The U.S. released 375,000 illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. with a family member into the interior of the country in 2019, the Washington Examiner reported on Monday.
In total, 473,682 illegal immigrants were caught entering the U.S. with at least one family member from October 2018 to September 2019.
Of the 375,000 who were released, 145,000 were released by Border Patrol without being transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while 230,000 were transferred to ICE and released from ICE facilities. ICE told the Examiner that families were released in part due to a lack of bed space, and also because of a 2015 court ruling that prevents the agency from holding families for over 20 days.
Those directly released by Border Patrol were given a “notice to appear” at a hearing to determine when they would be returned to their country of origin.
In addition to the 473,682 illegal immigrants with family who crossed the border in 2019, Border Patrol agents caught roughly 76,000 unaccompanied minors. The number of families attempting to cross the border illegally has declined since the fall of 2019.
The Trump administration has enacted a series of policies meant to discourage illegal immigration, including the “Remain in Mexico” rule, which requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their asylum cases are being adjudicated in the U.S.
President Trump has also made construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border a centerpiece of his agenda, diverting funds from the Pentagon to help pay for its construction.