Trump administration to stop detaining some migrant families at border: report

Trump administration to stop detaining some migrant families at border: report
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The Trump administration will reportedly stop detaining some migrant families who illegally cross the border in Texas as it copes with overcrowding in detention facilities.

The Wall Street Journal, citing government officials, said authorities will begin releasing hundreds of families caught each day in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, rather than referring the families to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for detention.

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Under current policy, families who cross the border are detained while they await court proceedings. Families typically get released after a maximum of 20 days, as families with children can't be detained for longer than that under federal law.  

According to the Journal, the exact number of families who will be immediately released will depend on the room available in detention facilities. Under the policy, the families who are released will first be processed by Border Patrol and, after they are released, they will be instructed to return for court proceedings.

The policy would be at odds with President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE's opposition to the practice called "catch and release," in which families who are detained after crossing the border are later released. Trump has often railed against the policy, including when he said last year that border agents "are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release."

Trump last year also signed an order to end "catch and release," though the policy can't be ended by executive order and the practice has continued.

Officials told the newspaper that crowding and safety concerns prompted them to make the change. The Journal noted that conditions at detention facilities has come under scrutiny in recent years. Multiple children have died in recent months in the custody of Border Patrol.

Thousands of migrants have crossed the border near the Rio Grande Valley in recent months. Between the beginning of October and the end of February, more than 58,000 migrants have been arrested in the area for crossing the border illegally, according to the Journal.

The influx of migrants has come as thousands of migrants have fled violence in Central America and sought asylum in the United States.