The Border Patrol released 50 recently apprehended migrants here Tuesday, the first of several hundred border-crossers who officials say will soon be freed because there is no room to hold them.
Normally, the Border Patrol would transfer the migrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be “processed” and in many cases placed in detention facilities. But officials said that both agencies have run out of space due to a recent influx of Central American families.
Immigrant advocates suggested the release was intended to create chaos at the border and further President Donald Trump’s argument that there is a national emergency there.
“Why do this now? It doesn’t make sense,” said Zenen Jaimes Perez, advocacy director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, which sent lawyers to the McAllen bus station to assist the migrants. “This is not something they’ve done before.”
He pointed out that the federal government has dealt with bigger influxes of migrants in the recent past.