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WHAT: President Trump directed his Administration to end “catch and release” and enhance immigration enforcement efforts.

On Friday, the President signed a Memorandum directing his Administration to promptly submit reports laying out what further steps are needed to strengthen immigration enforcement, secure our border, and end “catch and release,” the dangerous practice whereby aliens who have violated our Nation’s immigration laws are released into the United States shortly after their apprehension.

Within 45 days, the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services will submit a report outlining past and ongoing efforts to end “catch and release.” Another report will be submitted within 75 days detailing what additional resources or authorities are needed to finally and fully achieve this goal.

President Trump also directed his Administration to submit a report within 60 days laying out all measures currently being pursued to ensure removable aliens are returned to their home countries. This report will include diplomatic measures being pursued against countries that refuse to take back nationals who are being removed from the United States.

WHY: Catch and release has allowed an influx of illegal aliens to enter and remain in the United States and only encourages more and more illegal immigration.  

Legal loopholes continue to obstruct immigration enforcement efforts, leading to a significant number of illegal aliens being detained and subsequently released into the interior of the United States. For example, DHS can only detain accompanied minors who enter as part of a family unit for a maximum of 20 days based on a court’s interpretation of a consent decree from twenty years ago. Constraints on immigration enforcement also ensure that nearly all family units apprehended at the border are released. Current law entirely prohibits unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who are not from Canada or Mexico from being promptly returned to their home countries. As a result, more than 107,000 UAC have been released into the United States since fiscal year 2016. Finally, despite repeated requests to Congress for more funding, DHS lacks sufficient resources to ensure detention space to meet operational needs.

It is time to empower Federal authorities by providing them with the legal authority and resources they need to effectively enforce our Nation’s immigration laws. Otherwise, the influx of illegal aliens into the United States will only continue.