Breitbart's announcement that hundreds of illegal aliens caught in the Rio Grande would be processed and released in the San Diego area by the Border Patrol on June 4 may have been a bit premature — or prescient, depending on how you think about it.
A contingency plan to handle the processing and detention of people apprehended at the Texas border to the San Diego sector has indeed been drawn up at the request of the agency's Washington DC headquarters, sources confirm.
The plan involves bringing hundreds of people a week to the Murrieta Border Patrol Station because it's the most modern and has the most capacity not already in demand, according to Border Patrol National Council vice president Shawn Moran.
The Rio Grande Valley, in Texas, the busiest sector overall, is experiencing "a humanitarian crisis," according to the Border Patrol. Families — and a flood of juveniles — are being apprehended crossing the river and entering the U.S. at record rates, as reported by the New York Times earlier this week.
Texas reportedly can't keep up with the detentions — the processing areas and holding tanks are jammed, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not have sufficient detention space to accommodate families and kids. Furthermore, booking them and checking for criminal history takes at least three hours a person, Moran said.
So, headquarters called for the nine sectors along the Southwest border to draw up plans to help.
"It's an option that's being discussed; there is no start date," said Moran. "We know they're doing it in Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley and they're already being sent to the Tucson Sector — they're doing it in three other sectors."
Many of the families that are apprehended are booked, given a date to appear in immigration court, and then released on their own recognizance after they promise to show up in court. The case of juveniles is problematic because no government agency wants to take them.
So far this year, more than 150,000 people have been apprehended after crossing the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley. In May, the numbers surged to more than 1000 people a day, according to Border Patrol statistics. Most of those apprehended were from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Hundreds of Border Patrol agents from other sectors have reportedly been temporarily assigned to the Texas sector to help out, but the end is not in sight.
"We're not happy that anyone is being released into any sector," Moran said. "It's playing catch-and-release and it just spreads the crisis. If we continue to release people, it rewards them and encourages more to cross."