Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has joined a coalition of 27 states, urging the Biden administration to address a catch-and-release “loophole.” This call for action comes in light of a recent terror attack in Israel. The attorneys general have submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. They are pressing the agency to enact regulatory changes that would “close the catch-and-release loophole that DHS is currently exploiting to implement its mass release policy at the Southwest border.”
“The situation at the southern border has spiraled out of control, largely due to Joe Biden and his administration,” Attorney General Bailey remarked. “His reluctance to fortify the border has led to an unparalleled influx of unvetted migrants into our country’s interior. We are uncertain about who Joe Biden has permitted into our neighborhoods. Given the recent events in Israel, it’s imperative that we bolster our border security to ensure the safety of Americans.”
In their Petition for Rulemaking, which seeks to modify the DHS’s catch-and-release policies, the attorneys general claim that these policies are overtly illegal and pose significant threats to national security. The petition notes, “DHS’s mass release strategies are comparable to displaying a ‘Come In, We’re Open’ sign at the southern border. In August 2023, the Border Patrol released 100,585 aliens under § 1226(a). If these figures remain consistent, DHS will be releasing aliens at a pace exceeding one million annually. This estimate doesn’t account for aliens released on parole under § 1182(d)(5).”
Beyond the illegal release of inadmissible immigrants into the U.S., DHS is scheduling court dates for these migrants several years into the future. Such decisions by DHS enable countless unauthorized immigrants to reside in the U.S. for over 15 years before ever facing a judge.
The coalition is urging the DHS to revise its regulations to explicitly prevent these unlawful releases.
The petition elaborates, “The aim of this Petition to Initiate Rulemaking, as per 5 U.S.C. § 553(e); 6 C.F.R. §§ 3.1–3.9, is to insist that you rectify the issue at hand. Specifically, amendments should be made to your regulations to seal the catch-and-release loophole that DHS is presently leveraging to enforce its mass release strategy at the Southwest Border. Such modifications can be applied to either 8 C.F.R. § 235 or § 236. The amendment should essentially state that ‘aliens who fall under § 1225(b) because they fit the ‘applicant for admission’ criteria in § 1225(a) cannot be released under § 1226(a) as this provision is not applicable to them.’ In essence, the amendment should specify that § 1225 and § 1226 cater to distinct categories of aliens.”
The attorneys general have requested Secretary Mayorkas to promptly reject their petition if he disagrees with their stance, allowing them to pursue judicial review.
Joining Attorney General Bailey in this action are the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The Petition for Rulemaking is available for viewing by clicking or tapping this link.
Since President Biden assumed office:
- Over 7 million undocumented immigrants, including an estimated 1.5 million ‘gotaways,’ have crossed the border.
- U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have confiscated over 50,000 pounds of fentanyl, sufficient to fatally overdose the U.S. population more than 35 times.
- CBP has identified 264 individuals on the terrorist watch list at the Southwest border, with 151 of them being identified in the fiscal year 2023.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Bailey achieved a significant victory against the Biden Administration. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals greenlit Missouri’s lawsuit, which demands Joe Biden to complete President Trump’s border wall.