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Are illegal immigrants being released into the Abilene area after being released from detention facilities in West Texas? It's a question that Congressman Jodey Arrington isn't just asking, but demanding answers to.

On Thursday, Congressman Jodey Arrington sent a letter to Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson expressing his concern about reports of illegal immigrants being released from West Texas detention facilities and taken to Abilene where they are dropped off, reportedly, at bus stations, the airport, and "other places within our community where they are free to travel anywhere in the United States".

Arrington called the lack of communication and transparency "unacceptable". In his letter, Arrington wrote that the agency "failed to notify myself or any other local officials of these activities". Arrington also demanded answers to the following questions.

West Texans deserve to know about these decisions affecting their community, and I expect immediate answers to the following questions:

  • How many illegal immigrants have been released from local detention facilities and transported to Abilene, and under what conditions are they released?
  • Are illegal immigrants arriving in Abilene for the sole purpose of traveling elsewhere, or is Abilene the final destination for any of these illegal immigrants?
  • Is your agency tracking every illegal immigrant released to ensure they arrive at the appropriate destination?
  • Who is paying for the flights and bus tickets of these individuals leaving from Abilene?
  • Are you able to validate the identity and place of origin of every illegal immigrant released?
  • Is every illegal immigrant tested for COVID-19 before being released into the Big Country?
  • With the Delta variant spreading rapidly throughout Texas and the nation, what is the protocol for an illegal immigrant who tests positive for COVID-19?
  • What is your protocol for informing local officials of the release of illegal immigrants into their communities?
  • Are you conducting criminal background checks, utilizing both the US crime database and the equivalent in the individual’s country of origin, for every individual released into Abilene?
  • Are all released individuals expected to appear in court and what is the current estimated timeframe for Notices to Appear?

These are very good questions that need to be answered by the Biden administration. Those in Abilene, and throughout the nation deserve to know if people are being released into their cities with COVID-19.

Arrington ends his letter making clear that he believes President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have "utterly failed to fulfill their sacred constitutional duty to "execute the laws of the land" and "provide for a common defense".

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