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Trump Administration to End 'Catch and Release' for Illegal Immigrants

FILE - Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, walk in Frontera Hidalgo, Mexico, April 12, 2019.

The Trump administration is doing away with so-called "catch and release" for Central American immigrants who illegally cross into the United States.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced the move Monday. He says it is part of the administration's plans to ease what he calls the "pull factor" that attracts migrants to try to cross the border.

Except for some humanitarian and medical exceptions, McAleenan says immigrants who cannot successfully claim their lives would be in danger would be sent back to their home countries. Those who can prove a genuine fear would be returned to Mexico while their asylum requests are processed.

Under catch and release, border patrol agents who catch illegal migrants temporarily detain them until they are assigned a court date for an immigration hearing and then release them.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said only a small fraction of migrants show up for their hearings.

But the Justice Department says as many as 75% have kept their assigned court date.