ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An undocumented immigrant who was detained, processed, then released from custody explains how he got to the Abilene Regional Airport with a plane ticket for Pennsylvania in hand.
KTAB and KRBC caught up with the immigrant – who wished to remain anonymous – as he was waiting for his flight.
This immigrant, let’s call him John, says he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on July 12 then turned himself in to authorities.
He says he first was processed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in McAllen, then transported to El Paso, where he and the other immigrants were checked, given medical treatment, tested for COVID-19, then quarantined if they were positive.
John later ended up at the Bluebonnet Detention Facility in Anson, where he was released with a court date in 26 days.
In the video above – anonymous ICE detainee ‘John’ describes going through the ‘catch and release’ process in Abilene. Disclaimer: this full interview is in Spanish.
He was able to leave the facility because he made prearranged travel plans, so he was taken to the airport with a plane ticket in hand.
John is one of many immigrants caught at the border then released to fight their case in court.
KTAB and KRBC spoke to an immigration attorney, who explains how these immigrants are able to get their tickets, usually from family members or friends, and leave.
Congressman Jodey Arrington says he and other local officials were unaware that Abilene is being used as a hub to send these undocumented immigrants to locations around the country.
He says ICE did not notify anyone of this mysterious process and he was unable to figure out exactly what was happening or how many immigrants were being released.