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Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee is accusing the Biden administration of lacking transparency regarding the release of migrants into the United States. He has released DHS notices received by local officials in his state which show the number of migrants believed to be heading there on a weekly basis. The notices explain that Customs and Border Protection vets migrants’ information before releasing them into the interior, and migrants provide their intended destination before being released. Hagerty has criticized the administration for hiding information about how many migrants are going to which areas, and he is setting up a website for officials to submit the letters they have received.

In response to Hagerty’s accusations, DHS clarified that they do not coordinate the travel of migrants, but they do share information with local officials and NGOs about where migrants intend to travel. The purpose of the notification to officials was to inform them that noncitizens planned to travel to their area. DHS works closely with local officials, law enforcement, and NGOs to provide timely information about noncitizens who have been screened and vetted before being released pending their immigration court proceedings. The agency emphasized the importance of communication to ensure that migrants can connect with humanitarian aid and transportation assistance during the removal process.

The ongoing issue of releasing migrants into the interior has led to tensions between the Biden administration and lawmakers. The administration has requested more funding for removals, detention space, and support for cities and NGOs receiving migrants. They have called on Congress to pass immigration reform and approve additional funding to address the border crisis. Republicans, on the other hand, attribute the crisis to Biden administration policies, including the reversal of Trump administration measures. They advocate for ending “catch-and-release,” increasing wall construction, and enforcing stricter interior immigration policies.

Customs and Border Protection recently announced that the number of migrant encounters in February had reached a new record high, with over 189,000 encounters for the month. This surge in encounters has further fueled the debate over immigration policy and border security. Senator Hagerty’s efforts to shed light on the administration’s handling of migrant releases and the lack of transparency surrounding the resettlement of migrants in various areas have added to the discourse on how to address the ongoing challenges at the border. The Biden administration’s emphasis on working with local communities and NGOs to support migrants while upholding immigration laws underscores the complex and multifaceted nature of addressing the border crisis.

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