Customs and Border Protection estimates an additional 1,000 people per day are evading capture and more than 1 million unaccompanied minors will enter the U.S. illegally this year.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, met with Republican lawmakers this week to explain the nature of the problem Border Patrol is facing on a daily basis.
“I would argue that it’s the biggest surge that we’ve ever seen in the history of the Border Patrol,” Judd said during a roundtable with members of Congress, Texas landowners, and law enforcement.
“In all my years in Congress, this has been the most disturbing field tour that I’ve ever taken,” California U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock told reporters at a roundtable.
The two-day trip to McAllen, Texas, was spearheaded by Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, and included several Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan said House Democrats were invited to come but declined to participate. Jordan says what he saw is a “catastrophe.”
Customs and Border Protection projects more than 1 million unaccompanied minors will enter the U.S. illegally this year.
Judd says the Border Patrol is overwhelmed by a surge of 18,600 unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors, family units that comprise nearly 53,000 individuals, and 96,600 single adults in March alone.
However, Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller argues the surge at the border “is not new” and that encounters have “continued to increase since April 2020.”
172,000 Illegal Immigrants Crossed in March
During the month of March, Southwest land border encounters and apprehension totaled 172,000 illegal immigrants, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported. An additional 1,000 people per day are evading capture, CBP estimates. These numbers are up compared to February, when border agents apprehended 101,000 illegal immigrants and unaccompanied minors.
Judd disagreed, arguing, “this surge is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”
He added, “our past experiences have helped us be better prepared for the challenges we face this year.”
Taking care of family units and unaccompanied minors requires a great amount of resources, including housing, food, transportation and health care, all paid for by taxpayers. Taxpayers also foot the bill for the processing of and subsequent transfer or release of the individuals into the United States.
“Even though we were making 1.5 million arrests, we were actually dealing with about 400,000 to 500,000 individual people – we were just arresting the same people over and over again,” Judd said. Most were single males from Mexico, whereas the types of people crossing today are different, he said. “Today … if we make 1.2 million arrests, we’re actually dealing with about 800,000 to 900,000 different people.”
“I personally have apprehended groups from China, from Bangladesh, from Russia, from Poland, from Brazil. And these criminal organizations are allowed to go into these countries, and they’re allowed to advertise their services and make billions of dollars off of human misery. And it’s based upon our policies,” he said, referring to the Biden administration policies that reversed Trump-era policies.
“You could cross the border illegally one day and be in Virginia the very next day,” Judd said, referring to the “catch-and-release” program implemented by the Biden administration.
Judd says the current policy of “catch-and-release” only incentivizes illegal immigration. A better alternative is to detain individuals while their immigration case is being adjudicated, he suggested, pointing to the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, known as the Remain in Mexico program, which sought to do this.
Last month, President Joe Biden appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee the border crisis, however, she has yet to visit the border.
McClintock said the children are held for an average of 24 days and the situation is “getting worse by the day.” Mexican cartels net roughly $500 million per month through human trafficking, he said.
McClintock said the group of lawmakers “watched literally hundreds of illegal migrants crossing the border and turning themselves in to the Border Patrol,” he said. “Groups who were in the company of children under seven had their basic biometric information taken down, and then [they were] dispatched to bus stations to continue into the United States.”
Indiana U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz blamed “perverse incentives and lack of leadership” for the border crisis. “Perverse incentive and lack of leadership from this administration [have] created a real serious crisis at the border. And it has really escalated,” she said.
“We are feeding the Mexican crime cartels,” he added. “The crime cartels are taking in roughly a half a billion dollars a month through this human trafficking network.”
Utah U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens recounted sobbing children and a young woman who was gang-raped.
“Forty percent of our Border Patrol agents are busy processing people and changing diapers,” she continued. “It means that they cannot do their job protecting the border. It means that Mexican cartels are controlling the border. This is a national security and humanitarian crisis.”
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs said the situation was “horrific to see.”
“We have an administration that does not have the backbone to come down here and encourage these great men and women who are doing a job but being overwhelmed right now,” Ownes said.
Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor
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Reposted with permission