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The Obama administration has instituted a policy requiring U.S. Border Patrol agents to release illegal immigrants who claim they have been in the U.S. since January 2014, the president of the union representing Border Patrol agents testified before a House panel Thursday. “Simply put the new policy makes mandatory the release — without a [Notice to Appear] of any person arrested by the Border Patrol for being in the country illegally, as long as they don’t have a previous felony arrest and conviction and as long as they claim to been continuously in the United States since January of 2014,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd explained. According to Judd, illegal immigrants Border Patrol encounters must only “claim” they have been in the U.S. since January 2014 for agents to release them. “The operative word in this policy is ‘claim,’” he said. “The policy does not require the person to prove they’ve been here, which is the same burden placed on them during deportation — instead it simply requires them to claim to have been here since January of 2014.” “Not only do we release these individuals — that by law are subject to removal proceedings — we do it without any means of tracking their whereabouts,” he added.