The Obama administration is so embarrassed about the large number of illegal immigrants that are arrested and never show up for deportation hearings that it has ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to simply release most illegal immigrants it arrests without orders to appear at the hearings, a top agent admitted to Congress on Thursday.

"Simply put the new policy makes mandatory the release, without a NTA [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," said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the labor union for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, reported The Washington Examiner

Under the agency's previous "catch and release" policy, captured illegal immigrants would be given an order to show up for a hearing with an immigration judge and then released back into the country, according to The Daily Caller.

But Judd said that about 40 percent of individuals who issued an NTA failed to show up for the hearing, and that the Department of Homeland Security was so embarrassed that the new policy was implemented.

Judd was testifying at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing about the recent surge of illegal immigrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Along with being barred from giving illegal immigrants an NTA order, Judd said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has also been told to no longer track the immigrants once released.

"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. Agents believe this exploitable policy was set in place because DHS was embarrassed at the sheer number of those who choose not to follow the law by showing up for their court appearances. In essence, we pull these persons out of the shadows and into the light just to release them right back to those same shadows from whence they came," he said.

Immigration agents who insist on following the laws on the books and refuse to comply with the new policy directives will be terminated, Judd added.

"Immigration laws today appear to be mere suggestions," as there are "little or no consequences for breaking the laws, and that fact is well known in other countries," he said. "If government agencies like DHS or CBP are allowed to bypass Congress by legislating through policy, we might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether."