Commentary: Stopping the Crisis at the Border

"Open the border" tent with baby stroller in front of other tents.

I recently traveled to the southern border with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to see the unfolding crisis firsthand and come up with solutions. The surge and resulting chaos is well documented. 

Customs and Border Protection reported more than 172,000 total encounters at the border in March, up 70% from February and more than five times the March 2020 numbers. This includes more than 53,000 migrant family members, a more than 1,000% increase from March 2020; nearly 100,000 single adult migrants, an increase of 275% versus last year; and nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children, double the amount that crossed our border in February and a nearly 500% increase from March 2020.

The reason for the crisis is clear. The Biden administration’s policy changes encouraged families and unaccompanied children, mostly from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, to come to our southern border and apply for asylum. Traffickers are telling families they can come into the U.S. if they pay to make the treacherous trip north, then apply for asylum at the border. Under the Biden policies, there is a lot of truth to that.  

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Commentary: Stopping the Crisis at the Border

"Open the border" tent with baby stroller in front of other tents.

I recently traveled to the southern border with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to see the unfolding crisis firsthand and come up with solutions. The surge and resulting chaos is well documented. 

Customs and Border Protection reported more than 172,000 total encounters at the border in March, up 70% from February and more than five times the March 2020 numbers. This includes more than 53,000 migrant family members, a more than 1,000% increase from March 2020; nearly 100,000 single adult migrants, an increase of 275% versus last year; and nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children, double the amount that crossed our border in February and a nearly 500% increase from March 2020.

The reason for the crisis is clear. The Biden administration’s policy changes encouraged families and unaccompanied children, mostly from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, to come to our southern border and apply for asylum. Traffickers are telling families they can come into the U.S. if they pay to make the treacherous trip north, then apply for asylum at the border. Under the Biden policies, there is a lot of truth to that.  

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Biden Admin Considers Building More Border Wall Where ‘Gaps’ Exist: Report

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told employees he’s considering building more sections of the border wall to fill in “gaps,” The Washington Times reported Monday.

President Joe Biden stopped federal funding to the southern border wall, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials reportedly asked Mayorkas last week what his plans for the wall are, according to the Times. Biden issued a Jan. 20 executive order ceasing all construction on the southern border wall.

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Around 1,000 Illegal Migrants Evading Overwhelmed Border Officials Daily

Border Patrol sign.

Around 1,000 illegal migrants are entering the interior of the U.S. daily without overwhelmed border officials able to gather identifying information or take them into custody, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials are occupied processing unaccompanied migrant minors and family units while attempting to control the number of male adults who enter the U.S., leading to some illegal migrants entering the U.S. unknowingly, according to three CBP officials who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, the Post reported. The number of migrants who are able to evade officials, known as “got aways,” has increased substantially in recent weeks, two of the officials told the Post.

A “got away” is someone who crosses the border illegally, is not apprehended and has not been turned back, according to CBP. The agency spent over $1 billion in the last 20 years on surveillance technology to monitor for illegal crossings, though officials haven’t always able to apprehend illegal migrants.

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Border Patrol Holding Thousands of Migrant Children Past The Legal Limit, Some Detained Longer Than 10 Days

Customs and Border Protection has held at least 800 unaccompanied migrant minors in custody for over 10 days, Axios reported

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can legally hold unaccompanied minors for 72 hours, though over 3,300 were in custody over the limit as of Saturday, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security document obtained by Axios. Over 2,200 unaccompanied minors were held for more than five days and around 820 were in custody for over 10 days.

The number of unaccompanied minors in CBP custody for over 10 days has quadrupled in the last week, Axios reported. Only around 180 unaccompanied minors were in CBP custody for over 10 days as of last Monday.

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Child Migration Quickly Overwhelming Biden Administration’s Resources, Internal Documents Show

The number of child migrants crossing the United States’ southern border is quickly exceeding the federal government’s ability to hold them, internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show.

In the final week of February, Border Patrol referred an average of 321 children a day to HHS custody, according to Axios, which first reported the documents’ findings. Child migrant crossings averaged 203 per day in late January, and just 47 a day during the first week of 2021.

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Over 100 Illegal Immigrants Released by Border Patrol in Texas Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 Since January 25

Since January 25, 108 illegal immigrants released into Texas by Border Patrol have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. According to a spokesperson for Brownsville, a town on the Texas border, that number represents 6.3 percent of those who have taken the test.  The migrants are tested at the city’s main bus station, where they are being released by the Border Patrol.

According to NBC News, several of the illegal immigrants “plan to travel to dozens of cities throughout the country” despite testing positive for the coronavirus.

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More Than 700 Kids Currently Detained in Border Patrol Custody, Report Shows

More than 700 migrant children are currently detained in Customs and Border Patrol facilities, according to an internal government report.

At least 200 children had been held in the facilities for over 48 hours and nine had been held more than 72 hours, according to an internal Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) report dated Feb. 21, Axios reported. The CBP is not allowed to hold children more than 72 hours, according to a previous agreement.

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Over $14 Million Worth of Drugs, Firearms and a Man Wanted for Murder Detained by Border Officials in February

Around $14.3 million worth of narcotics and several weapons have been seized since the start of February at an Arizona port where officials also arrested a man wanted for murder, Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday.

Officials seized 440 pounds of methamphetamine, 385,000 tablets of fentanyl, 84 pounds of heroin and almost 13 pounds of cocaine in around 25 instances since Feb. 1, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A 28-year-old man wanted for murder in Las Vegas was arrested while in possession of an AR-15 assault rifle, a handgun and over 300 rounds of ammunition.

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Border Patrol Arrests Nearly 300 Illegal Immigrants After Searching Stash Houses, Stopping Smuggling Attempts

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials and local law enforcement in Texas arrested 294 suspected illegal immigrants within 18 hours, the Department of Homeland Security announced last week.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents intercepted smuggling attempts and raided stash houses in four separate incidents in Laredo, Texas, on Oct. 13, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Of those detained, 90 were from countries other than Mexico.

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Apprehensions at Southern Border Decreased by Nearly Half from Last Year 2019, CBP Says

Nearly half as many individuals were apprehended at the southern border during fiscal year 2020 as in the previous year, Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday.

A total of 400,651 migrants were apprehended between ports of entry at the southern border in fiscal year 2020, which ended with September, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced. In the fiscal year 2019, just over 851,500 individuals were apprehended.

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