- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A new viral video shows illegal immigrants nabbed at the border in Texas being released, ferried to airports and dropped off to catch flights taking them deeper into the U.S.

Bill Melugin, a Fox News reporter, posted a video taken from Brownsville, putting the Biden administration’s practice of catch-and-release in stark images.

The Biden administration has acknowledged difficulties with defending the border and said it was being compelled to catch and release illegal immigrant families.



But the new Fox video showed only men, underscoring the broadening nature of catch-and-release.

The video comes just after Homeland Security released its final southern border numbers from 2021, showing by far the worst year on record for illegal activity.

More than 2 million migrants were nabbed trying to cross without authorization, including record numbers of illegal immigrant juveniles traveling alone.

And the demographics have shifted, with nearly 45% of the migrants caught in December coming from countries outside of the usual sending nations of Mexico or Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America.

The Washington Times maintains a database of smuggling payments that shows $9,000 to be a typical payment for a Mexican crossing the Rio Grande and $12,000 to be typical for someone from the Northern Triangle countries.

Those from further afield can pay much more. An Iranian migrant caught in December told authorities he paid $25,000.

The Trump administration faced its own border surge in 2018 and 2019, catching and releasing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

But after some tough talk between President Trump and Mexico, and a series of agreements his administration signed with the Northern Triangle nations, the flow of migrants slowed. By the time the coronavirus pandemic hit, catch-and-release was practically ended.

President Biden, upon taking office, canceled the cooperation agreements with the Northern Triangle and eliminated a key program to return illegal immigrants to Mexico, and the massive influx of people resumed.

The Biden administration has since had to revive the “Remain in Mexico” program, albeit on a small scale, and has intensified its tough talk, but people continue to surge over the boundary. Last month was the worst December on record, with more than 170,000 migrants nabbed by Customs and Border Protection.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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