Rio Grande Valley border agents releasing migrants without court dates: reports

Border agents in the Rio Grande Valley were reportedly authorized on Sunday to release adults and families from U.S. custody before they've been given a date to appear in court for their hearings.

The move from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is “intended to mitigate operational challenges, including risks to national security, during significant surges of illegal migration as currently exist in the Rio Grande Valley," according to documents obtained by NBC News.

NBC notes that this procedure is a departure from CBP normally providing migrants with a "notice to appear" before they are released or sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


“In some cases, families are placed in removal proceedings further along in the release process rather than while they are at the Border Patrol station," a CBP spokeswoman told NBC News. "All families, however, are screened at the Border Patrol station, including the collection of biographical and biometric information and criminal and national security records checks."

The Hill has reached out to CBP for further comment.

Migrants who spoke to NBC said they were asked for contact information by border agents upon being released and were given documents that had “to be determined” court dates. They were reportedly told that they would be contacted within 30 days.

However, other migrants said their contact information was not taken before being released and were instead given documents they were told to show local authorities if they were stopped while in the U.S.

NBC reports that releasing adults and families will free up space for the surge of unaccompanied minors at the border.

A report from Saturday found that there were 15,000 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody. Hundreds of these minors have been kept in custody for longer than is legally allowed.