The Biden administration is considering forcing some migrant families who enter the United States illegally to remain near the border in Texas while awaiting adjudication on their asylum claims, three U.S. officials told the Los Angeles Times.
The remain-in-Texas policy, which has yet to be finalized, would effectively limit the migrant families’ abilities to travel within the U.S., while helping the administration quickly deport families who fail their initial asylum screenings and acting as a deterrent to other migrants from crossing the border.
Under the policy, migrants would be forced to remain in Texas, or possibly other border states, and would be tracked through GPS monitoring devices, three officials told the LA Times.
Migrant families who make their way deeper into the interior of the country are generally more difficult to deport than those who remain near the border.
“DHS continuously holds policy and operational discussions on how to leverage our authorities to ensure a fair, humane and effective immigration process that efficiently removes those without a lawful basis to stay in the country,” a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson told the Times.
While Border Patrol has yet to release the official number migrant families who crossed the southern border last month, the Washington Post reported last week that the number totaled over 91,000 — an all-time record.
“This scam was tried years ago & was shot down by a judge,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbot said in a post on X Thursday. “We will send Biden the same swift justice.”
“And, we will add even more buses of migrants to Washington D.C.,” Abbot added, who has already sent over 11,300 migrants to D.C.
The Texas Governor launched a migrant busing program in April 2022 in response to the Biden administration’s weak border policies, and has since sent more than 35,000 migrants to so-called sanctuary cities.
In August 2022, Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called on Biden to mobilize the National Guard to provide aid and shelter to migrants arriving from Texas — a request the Biden administration denied.
Abbot has also sent over 13,300 migrants to New York City, resulting in a crisis Mayor Eric Adams, also a Democrat, said Wednesday “will destroy” the city.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in April that the Biden administration has no plans to revive the Trump and Obama-era practice of detaining migrant families at the border.
“We have no plan to detain families,” Mayorkas said in April. “As I mentioned, we will be employing alternatives to detention, including some innovations in that regard, and we will on a case-by-case basis use enhanced alternatives to detention as warranted.”