Border encounters (previously known as apprehensions) continue to spike, according to preliminary data released in court documents by David Shahoulian, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In July, border authorities encountered more than 210,000 migrants, the highest monthly total in more than 20 years. For comparison, more illegal aliens were encountered in July than in the previous four years for that same month combined.
While the official numbers will likely not be released for another week or two, this preliminary data should be close to the official figures since it is sourced from a federal court filing, not a leak or estimate.
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) continues to bear the brunt of the border crisis. RGV sector border authorities encountered 78,000 migrants in July, up from 59,380 in June. This has put a strain on Customs and Border Protection (CBP), who are holding more than 10,000 illegal immigrants in this sector alone. This is an astounding 783 percent more than the COVID adjusted capacity limit, risking the health of migrants and CBP officers alike.
These alarming numbers come at a time when COVID-19 is surging throughout the United States. Even more troubling, a top Border Patrol union official recently revealed to Fox News that CBP is being forced to release COVID-positive migrants into the country. In addition, Brownsville, Texas, located in the RGV, reported that 108 migrants dropped off by Border Patrol have tested positive for the coronavirus since January, further endangering the lives of American citizens.
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D), who represents a large portion of the RGV, has called for action, tweeting, “The RGV ended last week with 21,921 apprehensions. The prior week saw 20,647 apprehensions. As of yesterday, the RGV started the week with 3,002 apprehensions. Something has to change!” Unfortunately, the Biden administration has shown little effort to change course on their failed border policies.
The best way to end the border crisis is to reinstate the Trump-era immigration policies that have been proven to work. As FAIR President Dan Stein pointed out, “Trump-era immigration and border policies discouraged mass migration amid the global pandemic and must be put back in place immediately. These initiatives include reinstating the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Asylum Cooperation Agreements (ACA)’s with the Northern Triangle countries, and restarting construction of the southern border wall.”
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