The Administration wasted no time in making good on big planned changes to U.S. immigration enforcement policy, issuing a memo late Friday ending the so-called “catch-and-release” policy that allowed illegal immigrants to avoid detention while they await a court ruling on their legal status.
The White House reports that the program allowed illegal immigrants to “exploit” the American asylum system, even if they weren’t eligible for protected status, according to The New York Times.
The memo also “instructs the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services to report to the President” on how they’ve taken internal steps to ensure the “catch-and-release” policy is a thing of the past, and whether they have any additional facilities that could be used to hold illegal immigrants looking to make a claim of asylum at the southern border.
Just as the White House signed that memo, a separate authorization from the Defense Department ordered up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the southern border to assist in immigration enforcement.
On Saturday, both Texas and Arizona announced they would follow the president’s orders. Texas will deploy 250 National Guard troops to its border on Monday. Arizona will send 100 troops to its border, largely, they claim, to provide airborne support to border enforcement officials on the ground.
The White House clearly hopes that Americans will consider these efforts significant in addressing the illegal immigration problem, but also says they are only the first salvo in an all-out war against border jumpers. The Administration plans on releasing a comprehensive immigration plan later this week.