EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Just before Title 42 was lifted on Thursday, a federal judge in Florida put a temporary block on a policy the Department of Homeland Security was planning to use to move migrants out of U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody more quickly.
An El Paso immigration attorney explained what the temporary restraining order does.
“There may be a manner in which they can be released, but it’s not going to be released with this policy. The judge has made it abundantly clear that this is not to be used and you have to remember that federal judges have contempt so they tell you not to do something. They’re not joking when they tell you, don’t do it,” said Felipe Millan, an immigration attorney in El Paso.
CBP issued a statement Thursday night after the ruling calling it “harmful” but saying it will comply and is assessing the next steps.
“This is a harmful ruling that will result in unsafe overcrowding at CBP facilities and undercut our ability to efficiently process and remove migrants, and risks creating dangerous conditions for Border Patrol agents and migrants,” CBP said in the statement.
This is a harmful ruling that will result in unsafe overcrowding at CBP facilities and undercut our ability to efficiently process and remove migrants, and risks creating dangerous conditions for Border Patrol agents and migrants.”U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, was in El Paso on Friday and told KTSM 9 News that he visited CBP’s central processing facility. Gonzales said there were over 3,000 people at the one facility and it was crowded. However, he says the judge blocking the policy isn’t the reason.
“I have visited that Central Processing Center a half dozen times, and every single time it’s been over capacity. So you can’t blame a court case that happened last night as a reason why they’re over-capacity,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales once again suggested immigration judges be brought to the border.
“They have to surge immigration judges to the border and folks have to get their cases heard and those that qualify for asylum shouldn’t have to wait 10 years,” Gonzales said.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, expressed her concern over overcrowding as well as health concerns.
“Migrants were released without a court date during the Trump administration as well; this is not something new,” Escobar said.
Escobar questioned the timing of the restraining order hours before Title 42 was lifted.
“I really questioned the motives of some of the red states as to why they’re doing this now because it really will only exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian challenge,” Escobar said.
According to the City of El Paso migrant dashboard, the number of people reported in CBP custody was over 6,000 on Friday.