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FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Steve Guest, R-Miss., on Thursday introduced legislation that would require federal immigration authorities to notify local authorities of an impending release of migrants into their communities.
The Early Migration Alert Program (EMAP) Act would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to notify personnel, including law enforcement and local governments, of incoming migrant transports.
That information would include the number of those being released, the destinations and their final destinations, as well as any criminal histories. It would appropriate $400,000 in FY 2023 and 2024 to carry out such a program.
Guest, who serves as the vice ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that the legislation would deal with the current lack of requirement for local authorities to be notified of any releases.
“When migrants are released without warning, the lack of communication can overwhelm law enforcement agents and public services and create desperate situations for migrants who find themselves in an unknown town with no direction,” he said in a statement.
The bill comes as both Republicans and Democrats — as well as officials within the Biden administration — have warned of an additional surge of migrants coming in the next few months as the administration is seeking to end Title 42. That public health order has been used to expel a majority of migrants at the border.
“As we prepare for another surge of migrants on the border, an alert system like the one E-MAP would establish is imperative,” he wrote. “The Biden administration cannot be allowed to continue dropping off migrants in towns across America at all times of the day and night without notice,”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Ranking Member John Katko, R-NY., who called the bill a “commonsense solution to ensure communities aren’t crushed under the strain of the Biden administration’s reckless policies.”
“It’s no secret that the administration has been releasing illegal migrants into towns across the country. Local communities and law enforcement are completely caught off guard and overwhelmed by the release of migrants who are left wandering the streets in a country they have never set foot in before,” he said. “To make matters worse, most often there is no communication between ICE, CBP and local officials prior to the release of migrants into our communities.”
The bill has 14 co-sponsors, including most Republicans on the committee itself. It also touts the backing of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) and the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA).
There were more than 164,000 migrant apprehensions in February, and that number is expected to rise. Sources told Fox News last week that approximately 8,000 migrants were apprehended at the border. While the majority of migrants are being expelled with Title 42, once that ends, many will be released into the United States with a Notice to Appear in court at a later date.
Republicans have slammed the administration for releasing so many migrants into the interior. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said he would be providing buses to take migrants from the state to Washington D.C.