Border officials in Texas say they are seeing a sharp increase in migrant apprehensions, as many as 1,000 per day. To handle the surge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have begun releasing migrants from detention with a "notice to appear" in court at a later date. It's a policy that appears similar to one the White House halted last year.
Homeland Security Secretarywas at the border on Thursday where CBS News' Mireya Villarreal asked her "Is this a re-introduction of 'catch and release?' Because that's what this new protocol sounds like here in the valley."
Nielsen denied that the policy had been reinstated, saying, "It's not a protocol. There is no re-introduction of 'catch and release.' The president has, more times than I can count, made it clear it is not the policy of the United States to 'catch and release.' It's not. But we are out of detention space."
The migrants being released in Texas are predominantly women and children and most are non-violent cases of families seeking asylum. We don't know how crowded the detention centers are, because the government won't let journalists see, but a local charity providing shelter says they're at capacity and seeing some 900 people every day this week. Most are eventually bussed north to other shelters or to families that take them in.
While Secretary Nielsen says this is not a manufactured crisis, an immigration advocate Villarreal spoke with says he believes the government had deliberately been holding detainees to release them all at once, creating the perception of a crisis to time with Nielsen's visit.
The courts are so backed up that one mother told CBS News her asylum hearing date is in July – a full year after she got to the U.S.