Court rulings force Trump to return to migrant "catch and release"

The Trump administration is releasing a number of detained migrants with ankle monitors, in what is essentially a reinstatement of the "catch-and-release" policies that President Trump purportedly hates.
By Rick Docksai | Jul 12, 2018
The Trump administration plans to release some detained migrant families after outfitting them with ankle monitors. The decision marks a reinstatement of Border Patrol "catch-and-release," despite Trump deriding catch-and-release for months as a failing policy.

Catch-and-release refers to releasing a detained immigrant to the community while he or she awaits a hearing in immigration court. It is an alternative to holding the person in detention.

Catch-and-release was common policy under the presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for immigrants whom law enforcement determined posed no major public safety risk, but Trump's administration has signed orders to end it and accelerate the swift deportation of all detained migrants back to their countries of origin. Separating and imprisoning thousands of migrant families is part of this policy shift.

But recent court orders are making the administration to curtail its policystarting with the mass detentions. A federal judge last month ordered the administration to reunite all detained children under five with their parents by July 10 and to return children of all other ages to their parents by July 26. And last week, another judge thwarted a Justice Department attempt to change its detention rules to allow minors to be held beyond the current limit of 20 days.

The administration intended to hold all migrants in detention for the duration of their court proceedings. But the judges' rulings have rendered this course of action illegal. Consequently, the administration is letting some immigrants out of detention on de facto supervised probation.

"Parents of children under the age of five are being reunified with their children, then released and enrolled into an alternative to detention (ATD) program, meaning they will be placed on an ankle monitor and released into the community," said Matthew Albence, a senior official with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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