Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz instructed agency leadership on how the agency plans to release migrants amid a border surge, according to a memo sent Thursday exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
In the memo, which was sent to chief patrol agents and directorate chiefs, Ortiz recognized that Border Patrol faces a “current migrant surge and is preparing for the anticipated increase in encounters of undocumented noncitizens following the anticipated lifting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s [CDC] Title 42 public health order.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planned to lift Title 42, the policy used to quickly expel certain migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 23. However, a federal judge ruled Friday in the favor of Republican attorneys general who sought to pause the public health order.
“The guidance is for situations where US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations are unable to accept custody of non citizens due to lack of bed space, such that non citizens must be released directly from USBP custody to avoid overcrowding and excessive time in custody,” Ortiz wrote.
“To the extent possible,” migrants should be released near nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), he said, adding that liaison officers will help agents “identify in advance the specific location which are most appropriate for the releases, paying particular attention to the availability of services and transportation options.”
Ortiz concluded that releases should be done safely, humanely and orderly, adding that agents shouldn’t release migrants in the middle of the night, in unpopulated areas, or into unsafe circumstances, according to the memo.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) didn’t respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.