U.S. Border Patrol officials said in congressional committee interviews that the release of migrants into nearby communities incentivizes migrants to attempt illegal border crossings, Axios reports. The interviews were conducted by the house Homeland Security Committee. "[T]he belief that they are going to be released with no consequence is certainly something that many migrants tell our agents" as a reason for crossing, said Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Dustin Caudle. Republican demands for changes to border policies — including the legal mechanism known as "parole" that allows some migrants to be released into the U.S. — have stalled the Senate's $111 billion emergency package for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific and border security.
Urging Republicans to put aside "petty, partisan, angry politics" to help Ukraine defeat Russia, President Biden said Wednesday that he's "willing to make significant compromises on the border." The Biden administration has turned to various forms of "parole," which is different from parole in the criminal justice sense, to address an array of immigration challenges. The practice of releasing migrants into the U.S. to await immigration court proceedings is not new and was used for surges during the Trump administration as well. Officials told congressional staffers that the large numbers being released was not something that they had regularly experienced. In March, Axios reported more than 700,000 migrants and asylum seekers had been permitted entry into the U.S at the discretion of Homeland Security officials through parole. That figure has only ballooned since then. However, the Biden administration has already significantly increased fast-tracked deportations, especially for migrant families who cross the border illegally. Backlogs are forcing border officials to release detainees.