According to a Fox News account of a recent influx of illegal immigrants at the US-Mexico border:

They have been instructed by the "coyote" who ferried them across the river for an exorbitant fee – as much as $1,000 – to simply wait for the Border Patrol to pick them up. After processing, they will likely be given a notice to appear before an immigration judge and a bus ticket to wherever in America they may have friends or relatives.

On the other hand, VICE News reports:

Border officials said they will keep concentrating on deporting unaccompanied minors. Some 6,000 young people were repatriated to Mexico in the first four months of the year, new figures show.

“It’s just a matter of time before these kids leave,” said Will Jenkins, public affairs officer at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, Texas — another compound that is housing minors. “All illegal immigrants get deported.”

They can't both be true. Are illegal immigrants given a bus ticket to where they want to go? Or are they all deported?

  • Closest I've found is downtrend.com/robertgehl/… where they talk about how so many immigrants are coming in that they're being bused to other border patrol stations in mass quantities. Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 19:51
  • @Shadur That's what I thought. But it could also be that the truth is somewhere in-between, for example, that (if possible) minors are housed with friends (as an emergency measure if there is absolutely no capacity anywhere else) and still deported a week later.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 13:56
  • 1
    Those claims do not contradict each other. They aren't, strictly speaking, even related. The Fox News claim regards illegal immigrants from Guatemala and "other than Mexico" whereas the VICE claim regards Mexican minors. Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 22:03
  • Not sure how relevant this is anymore, as my understanding that if this was ever true, conservatively slanted outlets are praising the Trump CBP as having stopped this practice and cracking down on illegal immigration.
    – user11643
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 21:34

2 Answers 2


Yes, some illegal immigrants are bused from the border to various US cities, being released in the US on their own recognizance.

The Houston Chronicle reports (in a subscribers-only article):

A little before noon on Friday, a white Homeland Security bus stopped outside a public bus terminal in downtown McAllen, its doors opening to disgorge a group of about 20 immigrants from Central and South America.

Similarly the San Antonio Express-News reports much the same thing (again, subscribers only):

For weeks now, the Border Patrol has been dropping off hundreds of Central Americans at bus stations in the Rio Grande Valley as an unprecedented wave of immigrants pours across the southern tip of Texas.

The caption to a photograph on that article states that the reason for these immigrants being released is that:

A wave of Central American adults with children and unaccompanied minors has overwhelmed U.S. Immigration and Customs detention centers. Immigration officials release some of them on their own recognizance after undergoing processing.

Some were transported at least as far as California. XETV-TDT reports:

The dropping off of undocumented immigrants from Texas began about eight months ago. At that point, the Border Patrol was either flying them or bussing them to Greyhound stations in Tucson and Phoenix. Even though they're both sizable cities, employees at the bus stations said they were being overwhelmed. Then, for reasons that aren't yet clear, the Border Patrol decided to start taking the immigrants to the Border Patrol station in Murrieta for processing.

"It's called catch and release. We are out there catching people... they are arrested, sorry they are surrendering to agents in the Rio Grande Valley (in Texas) because they know they will be detained for maybe a few days, a few weeks at most and then they will be released," said Agent Shawn Moran, who is with the National Border Patrol Council, the union for Border Patrol agents.

The immigrants are released and then given a date to show up in court. Agent Moran said that rarely happens. And he told San Diego 6 that Border Patrol stations in Murrieta and across the southwest are being overwhelmed. "Many of these stations have ground to a halt in terms of operations because they are doing nothing but processing," said Moran.

The Fox News article you provided claims that "other than Mexicans" are being treated in this manner, which appears to be true. Illegal Mexicans can be and are simply and easily passed back over the border, as the VICE article you provided claims. On the other hand, illegal immigrants from other countries are not so easy to deal with. As the Washington Post reports:

Unlike illegal migrants from Mexico, who can be quickly processed and returned by bus to Mexican border cities, Central Americans cannot be easily shipped home. Airplanes must be chartered. Consular arrangements must be made. And if migrants request asylum in the United States, the U.S. government has the additional responsibility to determine whether their appeal is based on a legitimate need for protection and a “credible fear” of persecution in their home countries.

More than 36,000 migrants, the majority from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, requested asylum along the southwestern border during the government’s 2013 fiscal year, nearly triple the 2012 number. Ultimately, most of the applications were denied, but critics of the process say migrants are gaming the system to extend their stays in the United States. Others may simply go underground and ignore deportation orders if their petitions are rejected.


Yes to confirm Michael Hampton's answer,


To avoid putting penniless families on the streets, charities and advocacy groups from California to Texas are scrambling to provide shelter, food, clothes and help buying bus and plane tickets.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement often coordinates with these shelters. On the December night that Yariza arrived, ICE brought 125 people in buses that came every half-hour.

A whiteboard in the corner marks progress buying tickets to New York, Nashville, Austin, Texas, and other cities across the U.S. Volunteers shuttle as many as they can to a bus station or airport to make room for the next night’s arrivals.

Shelter organizers say it costs $350,000 a month to operate the facility, which provides food, showers, cots, clothing and sometimes travel expenses. The state of California has donated $500,000 for administrative costs, and the city of San Diego may turn a former juvenile detention camp into a shelter.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user11643
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:43

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