Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar is calling out President Joe Biden over lax immigration policies that he believes will only exacerbate problems created by the ongoing migrant crisis.
The border crisis is especially personal for Cuellar, who represents Texas' 28th congressional district. His district not only includes a significant portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, but includes Laredo, Texas, one of the top three busiest U.S. border crossing sites.
What did Cuellar say?
Cuellar revealed last week that more than 15,300 migrants have been released from custody without formal notices to appear in immigration court since Biden took office just three months ago.
Even more shocking, that number was just 2,000 at the end of March, Cuellar told Border Report.
"Basically it's just an honor system. It's just a honor system that they are given and this is not the way it's supposed to be," Cuellar said.
More from Border Report:
In an effort to process, sort and separate [migrants] during this coronavirus pandemic and determine who will be moved to other facilities, federal officials are releasing thousands of migrants much quicker than normal and giving them what is known as a 385 form or booking report.
Unaccompanied migrant children are not fast-tracked. Instead, they are all taken into the care and custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement. But the number of unaccompanied youth is unprecedented, especially those crossing into South Texas, and they are taking up much of the space in DHS facilities used to process the migrants. And this has triggered thousands of migrants to be fast-tracked in the field, border experts tell Border Report.
Migrants released from government custody are typically given a Notice to Appear, a document instructing them when they need to appear before an immigration judge. However, the 385 form that Cuellar said migrants are being given now merely tell them to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office within a certain period of days.
The problem, Cuellar explained, is that many migrants being fast-tracked for release don't know when or where they need to report to a judge.
"They're not put into the immigration system where they're supposed to go before a judge," Cuellar said. "It will be interesting to see how many of those (issued) 385s are going to show up [for court]."
Cuellar has been critical of Biden's immigration policies, which have thus far consisted of reversing the deterrent policies of former President Donald Trump.
"You just can't say, 'Yeah, yeah, let everybody in' — because then we're affected down there at the border," Cuellar said in late February. "The bad guys know how to market this."
In a separate interview, Cuellar said, "We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option. Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic."