The Border Patrol recently announced that it has stopped the practice of transporting undocumented immigrants from Texas to a small city in California for processing. The program, which reportedly began about eight months ago, originally saw the Border Patrol take the immigrants to processing centers in Tucson and Phoenix. Later, some of the immigrants were shifted to a processing center in the city of Murrieta, which is in Riverside County, California near the border of San Diego County.
According to Border Patrol Agent Shawn Moran, the program is called “catch and release.” In it the Patrol catches undocumented immigrants on the U.S. side of the border, arrests them, and then later releases the undocumented immigrants. The released immigrants are given a court date and instructed to show up for court proceedings. According to agent Moran the immigrants rarely show as scheduled. Apparently Border Patrol stations across the entire southwestern part of the United States are overwhelmed by a big influx of immigrants and the sheer amount of processing required.
The Murrieta station is much smaller than those located in major cities and reportedly does not have the capacity to process more than just a few immigrants per day. Randon Lane, a councilman with the city, said that he only recently learned that the Border Patrol was dropping undocumented immigrants off in his city, and commented that he appreciates the fact that the program was reconsidered and ultimately scrapped.
Despite the fact that Murrieta will, at least for now, not be used as an undocumented immigrant drop off point, the program in which the immigrants are captured in Texas and then transported west will continue, according to Agent Moran. The reason is that the Patrol is currently dealing with an overwhelming number of undocumented immigrants and is simply looking for a solution on how to process them all.