What happens with immigrants after they cross the border?
El Paso, Texas —
A KFOX14 viewer named Cathy asked, "What happens with all the undocumented immigrants who turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents after crossing the border?"
In an ironic twist, most immigrants who cross the border illegally have an advantage over their counterparts who pursue the legal process of presenting themselves to U.S. authorities at one of our international ports of entry seeking asylum.
That's because those who cross illegally are generally eligible to be released on bond while they await their court dates, while those who present themselves at the bridges often remain in detention unless U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials decide to release them on parole.
Jeremy Slack, a UTEP immigration expert, explained to the Texas Tribune last year that immigrants seeking asylum end up in a state of "legal limbo" when they arrive at the border because they cannot legally enter the country until an immigration judge decides they can, so they often remain in detention. But those who cross the river illegally have the legal right to due process once they're apprehended, which includes being allowed to post bond while their case is in the court system.