McAllen, TX — On March 24, President Joe Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee the handling of the growing border crisis, where migrants have appeared in record numbers, overwhelming the system. Nearly three weeks later, Harris has yet to visit the United States’ southern border.
While Harris was refusing to assess the situation firsthand, The Daily Wire took a trip to McAllen, a Texas border city, to observe the influx of migrants in the area. While the administration dubs the border a “challenge,” what I saw was far more than that — it was a full-blown crisis.
America’s southern border is experiencing the highest migration surge since 2001. Border Patrol agents told The Daily Wire that the newfound wave began on January 20, the same day that Joe Biden was inaugurated as President.
Agents attribute the shift in migration patterns to the stark differences between the messaging of former President Donald Trump and Biden regarding illegal immigration. The Trump administration campaigned on building a border wall. The Biden administration campaigned on halting wall construction. The Trump administration wanted to end illegal crossings. On the campaign trail, Biden supported the notion of offering free healthcare to illegal immigrants.
The situation I witnessed at the border suggests promises made, promises kept.
Border Patrol Wants To Keep Building The Wall
According to the Washington Times, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the administration is now considering filling the “gaps in the wall” at the border, despite aggressively condemning the notion of a border wall under Trump. “Gaps” refer to unfinished portions of the existing wall, as pictured below.
Border Patrol agents told The Daily Wire that filling the gaps should not be a partisan issue, as the holes leave agents vulnerable to criminal interaction. Because migrants who come to the United States in search of a better life immediately turn themselves over to Border Patrol agents, those utilizing the gaps in the wall are typically not migrants, but criminals or drug mules, according to agents.
In many cases, a single agent works a port of entry along the wall and sees somewhere between 100 to 500 migrants per day. While that agent meticulously documents the migrants at these ports of entry, criminals attempt to sneak through the gaps. It is an agent’s job to apprehend those who cross illegally, while simultaneously processing those who turn themselves in.
While the Biden administration considers whether to fill the gaps on the wall, part of the solution sits idly by. In McAllen, there was even construction equipment sitting next to piles of incomplete border wall components waiting to be put into place.
How Migrants Come To The U.S.
Most migrants I encountered in McAllen had traveled for weeks, if not months, to come to the United States from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Agents told The Daily Wire that other common countries of origin include Romania, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan.
These migrants cannot just walk into the U.S., however. They must first pay a hefty sum of money to the cartels that often operate and initiate border crossings. Border Patrol agents estimate that cartels charge an average of $9,000 to $12,000 per person.
The most common way cartels and migrants cross into the United States is by using rafts. I witnessed over 200 migrants cross over the Rio Grande river with the help of human smugglers, commonly referred to as “coyotes.”
Coyotes assisted groups that appeared to be families, though Texas State Rangers told The Daily Wire that children are often recycled to help single adults cross with ease. Rangers claim that families who cannot afford the cartel’s outlandish prices will often agree to send their child back and forth to cover the cost.
“We see the same kids every few nights,” a State Ranger told The Daily Wire.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data corroborates the State Ranger’s claims. While nearly every migrant I saw appeared to be part of a family unit, in 2021, Border Patrol agents have apprehended 39,061 family units and 313,565 single adults. The data indicates that there are far more single adults crossing into the United States, and yet observing those who entered suggests otherwise.
Once migrants arrive on U.S. soil, they search for a point of entry along the border wall. Many come dehydrated and exhausted. The trails are easily detectable as they’re often littered with baby diapers, clothing, electrolyte drinks, and wristbands that certify that migrants paid the cartels.
When migrants turn themselves in, Border Patrol agents must take down each individual’s name, age, country of origin, who they came with, whether they have children, and what belongings they have in their possession. Under the Biden administration’s new policy, agents must write down the age and preferred gender of migrants who cross.
I saw a woman who was clearly over the age of 25 tell an agent that she was 16. That woman sat in a holding cell with other 16-year-olds and was documented as an “unaccompanied minor.”
Agents told The Daily Wire this is potentially problematic for two reasons. First, “unaccompanied minors” are granted preferential treatment to be reunited with their families. Second, this policy allows adult predators to potentially be placed in holding facilities with actual minors.
The Detention Facilities
The Biden administration has repeatedly stonewalled the media from seeing the current detention facilities used to house migrants. According to Border Patrol agents, in nearby Donna, Texas, holding facilities that are meant for 33 people are housing hundreds. Migrants are crammed into these facilities for 48 to 72 hours while they are processed.
Most migrants are not given COVID-19 tests until after they are released into the U.S. interior. Migrants who test positive for COVID-19 are often put up in hotels in border towns, though agents claim that many COVID-positive migrants do not quarantine for the full CDC recommended period for fear of apprehension. The Biden administration has shelled out $86.9 million on hotel rooms for migrants, according to Business Insider.
Once migrants are released into the U.S. interior they purchase, though reportedly sometimes they are given, bus and plane tickets to their destination of choice. At the airport, I noticed migrants carrying manilla folders with their flight information and signs that read, “Please help me, I do not speak English. What plane do I need to take? Thank you for your help!”
It’s hard to watch this process unfold and not be cynical about the Biden administration’s motives. From the comfort of Washington, D.C., politicians and commentators alike are ignoring the reality of human trafficking, inhumane conditions, and violence that occurs at the southern border.
The message of the Biden administration appears to be “nothing to see here.” For those of us who have actually been to the border, it’s a different story. There is something to see — a crisis.