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Acting DHS head announces end to 'catch and release' policy

Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan says the change starts next week
Posted: 4:13 PM, Sep 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-23 19:13:14-04
Mexico Immigration Asylum Seekers

The Department of Homeland Security is ending the policy known as "catch and release."

In March, the Border Patrol started releasing families directly from its custody into the U.S. with a notice to appear in court. The move came amid an influx of migrant arrivals at the southern border.

Now, the policy is coming to an end.

Acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan announced the change at a Council on Foreign Relations event Monday.

"What we're doing with Central American families now that's ending the catch and release process, is that if they don't have a fear claim, they're going to be repatriated in a streamlined fashion, or if they do have a fear or claim asked to wait under the Migrant Protection Protocols in Mexico," he said. "So they will not be currently held on the U.S. side of the border, even in the family residential centers, because we're not able right now to complete an immigration proceeding, while in the 21 days we have by court order."

The policy change takes effect next week.

Mcaleenan also touted a drop in apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border. He said total enforcement actions for Central Americans arriving at the border are down more than 70%.