FIRST ON FOX: Border Patrol leadership last month set daily “bookout” targets for its sectors in order to keep escalating numbers of migrants in custody at a “manageable” level — including potentially increasing releases into the U.S. interior — as agents continue to see a rise in numbers at the southern border.
An internal Aug. 8 email from an acting deputy chief to Border Patrol field chiefs and deputies says that sectors are facing an influx that is outpacing the numbers of migrants being either released or transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for removal.
The email, obtained by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office, says daily encounters “[continue] to surpass the daily permanent bookouts and the in-custody numbers continue to rise creating significant risks to agents and detainees.”
“This level of detention numbers has also resulted in increased manpower requirements impacting border security efforts.”
Consequently, the agency proposes “daily bookout targets” per sector “to bring in-custody numbers to manageable levels” based on 7-day averages. It then says that, if “consequence pathways” such as expedited removal are not available, then releasing migrants with Notices to Appear (NTA/OR) at a future court date should be used.
“We respectfully request that you urgently use these bookout targets to formalize your daily processing pathway plans, to include transitioning to NTA/OR when consequence pathways are not sufficient.”
The memo says that those released should be enrolled in Alternatives to Detention “where operationally feasible.”
The email was obtained by Moody’s office as part of ongoing litigation. Florida is suing the administration over its release of migrants into the interior. It successfully blocked a policy by which migrants were released without court dates due to overcrowding pending an ongoing challenge.
In a statement, she suggested the move marked the implementation of “mass release quotas” for migrants.
“This latest email is further proof of the disastrous cycle created by Biden’s intentional destruction of our border with Mexico. Biden cuts resources, opens the border, and then releases detainees while claiming there is not enough detention capacity to prevent the unprecedented flood of migrants entering the country because of his terrible policies,” she said.
“With every passing day it is becoming more obvious that the border crisis is being intentionally orchestrated by the Biden administration. We will continue to do everything in our power to push back and let the American people know what Biden is doing.”
Republicans have hammered the Biden administration on the border crisis, blaming the record migrant numbers on the policies it has implemented after reversing Trump-era policies.
The Biden administration has pushed back, accusing Republicans in Congress of having failed to approve funding to handle the crisis (including a recent $4 billion as part of its supplemental funding request) and of having failed to work with the administration to pass legislation to fix what it says is a “broken” system.
Meanwhile, signs are pointing to continually higher numbers, which had dropped in June but increased in July and reportedly increased in August. Fox reported last month that major border sectors were either at capacity or nearing it.
CBP sources told Fox News that on Monday, Border Patrol apprehended more than 7,300 illegal immigrants (not including those who evaded custody or appeared at ports of entry). CBP now has over 22,000 migrants in custody, the sources said.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.