Report: DHS aiming to raise number of migrants released into the U.S.

Amid a crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants cross the southern border over the past few months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is aiming to raise the number of migrants allowed to be released into the United States through an alternative to the detention program, Fox News reported exclusively on Friday.

According to Fox News, internal DHS communications that it reportedly analyzed reveal that the department is hashing out plans to streamline the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program. This, according to the outlet, is because raising the number of migrants enrolled in the program is becoming a priority for the DHS.

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The ATD program, which began in 2004, involves varying degrees of supervision for undocumented immigrants who are going through immigration proceedings. According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, ATD can include methods ranging from GPS monitoring to office and home visits, depending on the immigrant and their background, criminal history, plus other factors.

“The Biden administration has made it clear that the border is not open,” a DHS spokesperson reportedly told Fox News. “Our policy is to expel single adults and families. In situations where individuals cannot be expelled, they are placed into removal proceedings and a custody determination is made, which could result in an Alternative to Detention program.”

According to the news outlet, the communications it reportedly analyzed suggest that the DHS will be participating in discussions with ICE to formulate plans for what will be required. Although, Fox News noted that migrants have recently been released without Notices to Appear in court, just notices to appear at their local ICE offices.

Amid the surge of migrants, which broke records last month, the Biden administration has been struggling to process and hold the migrants in custody. This has led to overcrowded conditions at migrant detention facilities, worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, and overall poor accommodations for detainees—especially unaccompanied children. There have even been reports of sexual abuse toward child detainees.

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You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.