Border Patrol chiefs told lawmakers that they are seeing an historic number of illegal immigrants released into the U.S. as encounters reach record highs, according to interviews released on Sunday.
Transcripts of depositions with sector chiefs were released by the House Homeland Security Committee that show the drastic influx of illegal migrants under President Joe Biden as lawmakers continue to call on the administration to secure the border.
“We spoke with some of the most senior and experienced leaders in the U.S. Border Patrol and they clearly recognize the unprecedented scope of this crisis. Their stunning testimony further informs the Committee’s oversight work and emphasizes why we must hold Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden accountable for intentionally facilitating the worst border crisis in our history,” Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) said.
Former Del Rio Sector chief and current Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens told lawmakers earlier this year that the amount of people detained and released into the U.S. at the border currently exceeds anything he has seen in the past. At least 1.4 million illegal immigrants have reportedly been released into the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2023.
Dustin Caudle, the deputy chief Border Patrol agent for the Yuma Sector, told lawmakers that although spikes of crossings were not unprecedented, the number of people crossing the border was the most he had ever seen.
“The volume that we’re seeing recently, in my opinion, in my career when I’ve seen is what I would consider unprecedented,” he said.
John Modlin, chief of the Tucson Sector, said it was “troublesome” and “demoralizing” that the number of crossings in his area had progressively increased from 2020 into 2023.
“And then, thinking it couldn’t go higher, it then went to 250,000  last year, and that did not include the 55,000 that we took from Yuma to help them out and the 170,000 gotaways recorded last year in that as well. And this year we’re on pace to probably hit 300,000. So if that’s the case, then we’ll be five times what we did just in 2020,” he estimated during his interview with lawmakers earlier this year.
Green pinned the influx of unlawful crossings on the policies of the Biden administration.
“As the testimony of these leaders makes it clear, this is a policy-driven crisis, sparked almost overnight by an administration bent on ending effective border security policies and replacing them with mass catch-and-release. The numbers show the failure of that agenda. Make no mistake, I will not stand idly by as our men and women in green suffer the consequences of this administration’s refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress,” Green said.
House Republicans have considered impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas but have yet to move forward with the proceedings.