On Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released operational statistics for February 2021, showing that CBP encountered 100,441 persons trying to enter the United States at the Southwest border, a figure representing an almost 30% increase over January. “The number of migrants that U.S. border authorities encountered along the U.S.-Mexico border in February rose to levels not seen since a dramatic surge in migrant family arrivals in 2019 overwhelmed border facilities,” AZ Central noted, adding, “Customs and Border Protection said that 25,000 of the migrants they encountered in February had already attempted to cross the border previously.”
CBP stated, “Beginning in April 2020, CBP has seen an increase in encounters of unaccompanied children from Central America at the Southwest Border. In Fiscal Year 2021 through February, 29,792 unaccompanied children and single minors have been encountered along the Southwest Border. Two thousand nine hundred and forty-two of these children are under the age of 12 years old and 26,850 are aged 13-17 years old.”
“In Fiscal Year 2021 through February, 29,792 unaccompanied children and single minors have been encountered along the Southwest Border,” CBP added. “Two thousand nine hundred and forty-two of these children are under the age of 12 years old and 26,850 are aged 13-17 years old.
Not only has the influx of immigrants at the border exploded, so have the illicit narcotics seized in the country. CBP noted, “Nationwide, drug seizures increased 50 percent in February from January 2021. Cocaine interceptions decreased 13 percent. Seizures of methamphetamine increased 40 percent. Seizures of heroin went up 48 percent and seizures of fentanyl decreased by 17 percent.”
CBP noted that “since the pandemic began until the end of February, CBP had seized more than”:
- 177,500 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 414 incidents. These items were either prohibited for not meeting legal requirements, or they were potentially unlicensed,
- 30 million counterfeit face masks seized in 611 incidents,
- 37,000 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 118 incidents,
- 38,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 229 incidents,
- 6,000 tablets of antibiotics, such as azithromycin in 108 incidents, and
- 300,000 containers of hand sanitizer in 36 incidents.
According to CBP, Texas’ Rio Grande Valley station saw the biggest increase in apprehended immigrants; the number increased from 17,000 in January to roughly 28,000 in February. Tucson and Yuma stations increased from 12,372 apprehensions in January to 19,740 in February.
“The increases in both corridors had an impact on holding capacity at Border Patrol facilities, which were already reduced to comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines. As a result, the Border Patrol has been releasing into communities in south Texas and in Arizona the migrants that it cannot expel under Title 42,” AZ Central pointed out.
Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of CBP, stated on Wednesday, “”I think we continue to struggle with the number of individuals in our custody, especially given the pandemic. And as far as HHS, ORR, we continue to work with them to move children out of our custody as quickly as we can, and we need to move more quicker (sic).”