The Biden administration will reportedly send court documents this week to 78,000 migrants who crossed into the country illegally this year but who were not processed for deportation at the country's southern border.
But the migrants — who are only a relative handful of the more than 1.7 million who have surged into the country over the last 12 months — are not likely to face deportation for quite some time, as federal immigration courts continue to slowly work through a backlog of more than 1.4 million pending cases.
What are the details?
Nevertheless, according to CBS News, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plan, known as "Operation Horizon," was launched Monday and aims to enter tens of thousands of migrants who only received ad hoc processing at the border into official deportation proceedings.
The migrants will reportedly receive "notices to appear" before an immigration court, along with other charging documents, CBS News reported. Once in court, judges will determine whether or not the migrants will be allowed to remain in the country. A judge can also order deportation if a migrant fails to show up for the court date.
News of the plan proves that earlier reports indicating the Biden administration was releasing tens of thousands of migrants into the U.S. without court dates were accurate. Since the start of this year, border agents have been overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of migrants seeking entry under the Biden administration's lax immigration enforcement.
Instead of issuing "notices to appear" upon interdiction, border agents were apparently instructed to issue "notices to report" to encountered migrants. The documents reportedly allowed the new arrivals to temporarily live and work in the country before self-reporting to deportation officers in their destination cities by a specific date. However, despite those orders to appear before an ICE officer, only 13% of the migrants actually did so, Axios reported in July.
In a statement to CBS News, ICE confirmed the new plan, saying, "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is mailing charging documents to place noncitizens in removal proceedings who have been paroled or released under prosecutorial discretion by Customs and Border Protection (CBP)."
"Noncitizens are being directed to their closest ICE Field Office and will be processed using the information collected by CBP as evidence of citizenship and removability," the agency continued, adding, "Action will be taken against those that do not appear consistent with the law and Department priorities."
While the new plan appears to be a step in the right direction toward confronting the immigration crisis at the southern border, critics have reason to doubt the Biden administration's follow-through, given its poor handling of the crisis to this point.