It seems like it was just yesterday that The Daily Wire reported on February’s record-shattering border numbers provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Specifically, Nick Miroff — a Washington Post national security reporter specializing in immigration enforcement and drug trafficking — found himself so flabbergasted by February’s border numbers reported by CBP that he could only find one word to describe the influx: “Bonkers.”
The February numbers were so bad, in fact, that Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, referred to the migrant influx as “unprecedented” and “uncharted” in an interview with Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz:
Just how bad is it? Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told me emphatically that this is the “absolute worst” he’s seen it in 21 years of his work on the border. “We have never seen what we are dealing with today. It’s unprecedented and we’re in uncharted waters.”
Judd stressed the fact that while there were years where we had up to 1.5 million apprehensions during the 1990s and early 2000s, those were total arrests, not total number of people arrested. That is because almost all of those crossing were single adults from Mexico who were repatriated back to Mexico almost immediately. As such, many tried to come back again, and Border Patrol counted news arrests of the same individual multiple times. “Last decade, we arrested the same people multiple times in one year. For example, I caught the same group of seven people three times in the same shift, so although I made 21 arrests, it was still only seven people.”
But it isn’t just the CBP’s migrant influx numbers that are wreaking havoc. To make matters even worse, as The Daily Wire has also previously reported, the National ICE Council, which is the union representing about 7,600 officers and agents who work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recently sent a harshly critical letter to President Trump regarding the deeply harmful nature of the administration’s current catch-and-release policies.
Now CBP’s March numbers are also in, and it has never been clearer that we are facing a full-on national crisis at the border: What I referred to last week as a “self-spiraling maelstrom of largely bogus ‘credible fear’ asylum claims (the denial of which now shockingly includes a purported right to appeal, per the leftist-dominated U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), a combination of the Flores consent decree settlement working in noxious tandem with our physically limited bed space at detainment facilities, and self-defeating catch-and-release policies with respect to countless illegal aliens absconding into the nation’s interior — sometimes to murderous effect — prior to their mandated removal hearings.”
Here is the crux of CBP’s press release, in which CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez refers to the onslaught as a “system-wide emergency”:
“We are currently experiencing a system-wide emergency in our processing and holding facilities. The humanitarian crisis created by a massive influx of family groups and unaccompanied children in recent months has forced CBP to reallocate resources away from law enforcement, trade and travel missions to process and provide care for those in our custody,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez. “The impacts to legitimate trade and travel cannot be overstated. As this crisis continues to worsen, it undermines CBP’s ability to perform its dual mission of protecting our borders and facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”
In Fiscal Year 2019 to date, the U.S. Border Patrol has seen a more than 370% increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same time period in FY2018. Today, 60% of apprehensions along the Southwest border are family units and unaccompanied children, made up predominantly of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Additionally, through the first six months of FY19, CBP has encountered 104 large groups composed of 100 or more individuals totaling 17,242 apprehensions. In comparison, U.S. Border Patrol encountered 13 large groups in FY2018 and two FY2017.
As far as “large groups composed of 100 or more individuals” — those would be the “caravans” that the media frequently discusses — are concerned, that would make for an unfathomable 700% increase from the government’s fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2019. And we are only halfway through the government’s fiscal year!
As far as March, specifically, an incredible 103,492 total inadmissible aliens were apprehended at and between ports of entry, which makes for the highest monthly total since way back in George W. Bush’s second term. If we extrapolate that monthly number to an annualized total and use an illegal immigration cost calculation estimate from the Center for Immigration Studies, we arrive at an estimated annual cost to U.S. taxpayers of somewhere in the neighborhood of $170-$180 billion. Another mind-blowing statistic is that 57,271 family units were apprehended — which represents a 40% month-over-month increase just from February, which was itself a record at the time! And here are two more wild statistics, courtesy of Daniel Horowitz: The percentage increase in monthly family unit apprehensions between points of entry from April 2017 through February 2019 is an eye-popping 4,647%, and March even saw a 30% increase in the number of single adults — as opposed to the more frequent family units and unaccompanied alien children — crossing the border.
We have a full-on national crisis on our hands. Congress should amend — and, ideally, completely vitiate — the misbegotten Flores consent decree from 1997. The U.S. State Department should formally recognize the leading Mexican cartels as FTOs — Foreign Terrorist Organizations. We need more physical bed space at detention facilities. And perhaps most importantly, we need to finally end the “credible fear” asylum loophole that, above all else, serves as a disastrous magnetizing pull factor incentivizing so many in Central America’s “Northern Triangle” to link arms with transnational cartels and trafficking rings in order to make the dangerous trek north. As Rachel Bovard noted at American Greatness in October, “asylum cases more than octupled from 5,523 in 2009 to 81,864 in 2016” — and the trend has only exacerbated under President Trump.
We need all political hands on deck to face this crisis head-on. As President Trump is fond of saying: Without sovereign and secure borders, we do not have a nation. It is time for Congress, the president, and the federal judiciary alike to start acting like it.