Catch And Release Continues

NY Times

McAllen, TX — In September, domestic security officials promised to tighten control of the border with Mexico by swiftly deporting all illegal immigrants seized there, ending the practice of releasing thousands of illegal immigrants to the streets each year because of shortages of beds in detention centers.

The move was hailed by President Bush and Republicans in Congress, who said the policy would deter the surging numbers of illegal immigrants who cross the murky swells of the Rio Grande here or scramble across the border in Arizona and California. But in this border town on the front lines of the efforts to combat illegal immigration, some Border Patrol agents say they continue to face an uphill battle, with too many illegal immigrants and too few detention beds.

In the first three months of the 2006 fiscal year, the number of illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico who were caught crossing the border surged nearly 30 percent compared with the corresponding period last year, notwithstanding hopes that the policy would deter such would-be immigrants.

Despite the promise of nearly 2,000 more detention beds to ensure that illegal immigrants do not flee before being deported, thousands continue to be released with notices to appear in court.

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