In August, the number of people apprehended by federal law enforcement while attempting to cross the US-Mexico border unlawfully has remained near the highest level in more than two decades.

Two hundred eight thousand eight hundred eighty-seven persons were stopped throughout the 2,000-mile southern border as they sought to sneak in between ports of entry or were denied admittance at inspection booths, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Washington Examiner reported that the large majority tried to get across the border in areas without a border wall.

According to CBP statistics, the number is four times higher than the 50,014 people encountered in August 2020 and three times greater than the 62,707 encounters in July 2019.

The 208,887 is down 2% from July’s high of 212,672, the highest in 21 years. It is, however, significantly more than the 78,000 interactions in January when President Joe Biden took office and began reversing previous President Donald Trump’s immigration and border policies. 

After plummeting at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the number of unlawful border crossings has been steadily increasing for the past 17 months.

It has climbed at a greater rate than at any time in recent history in the first six months of Biden’s presidency.

Border Patrol personnel stopped 195,558 of the 208,887 persons who crossed the border last month between ports of entry. There were around 103,500 single adults, 86,400 families, and 18,800 minors with an adult guardian.

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was caught on camera telling border officials that the situation at the border is “unsustainable” since the system can’t handle so many illegal immigrants, according to the New York Post.

“A couple of days ago I was down in Mexico, and I said, ‘Look, you know, if, if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable,'” Mayorkas said during the meeting.

“We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it​,” he said. ​

Thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens waited to be captured by U.S. law enforcement agents, according to videos shared by Fox News correspondent Bill Melguin on Twitter on Sept. 15.

“Our drone is currently over the international bridge in Del Rio, TX, where Border Patrol & law enforcement sources tell us over 4,200 migrants are waiting to be apprehended after crossing into U.S. Local B.P. holding facilities are overwhelmed and over capacity,” Melugin tweeted. “A source on the ground sent us this video showing thousands of migrants under the international bridge in Del Rio, TX with more showing up constantly. We’re told the situation there is getting worse every day and the numbers are growing by the hour.”

Despite official regulations requiring all individuals and families to be sent back across the border to Mexico or their country of origin, the Biden administration only turned away about half of the 195,000 people—about 92,000 people. The remaining 103,000 persons were apprehended and were either released into the United States or deported.

Only 30,000 to 50,000 people have been caught illegally crossing the southern border each month over the last decade. According to federal data, the last time these many people were sighted at the border was in March 2000.

In December 2020, only weeks before Biden took office, the number of encounters had reached 74,000. As Biden softened border controls, they surpassed 172,000 in March and 178,000 in April. In June, the Border Patrol had 180,000 interactions and 188,000 in July. In August, at a press conference, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told reporters that 60 percent of reported illegal crossings occurred in South Texas.

The fiscal year of the government began in October of last year. According to CBP data, 1.54 million persons have tried to enter the southern border since then, up from 458,000 in fiscal 2020 and 977,000 in 2019.

If September is as awful as July and August, this year will come close to breaking the 1986 record of 1.693 million apprehensions.

Biden initially attributed the increase in illegal migration this spring to “seasonal” factors. Despite this, the numbers have continued to rise this summer, when usually fewer migrants have been detained at the border due to the hot weather acting as a barrier.

Republicans say something needs to change

“I urge the Biden administration to take action because the migrant crisis is a direct result of its decision to dismantle the previous administration’s policies with no consideration of the historic influx it would incite,” said Sen. Rob Portman, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Over the summer, Biden’s team tried some new tough-on-crime policies, such as flying migrants deeper into Mexico to prevent repeat attempts.

Officials have also stated that they are attempting to boost the use of expedited removal, which allows for quick deportation. Despite this, only around 72,000 of the 1.5 million persons apprehended by the Border Patrol this fiscal year were subjected to an expedited deportation.

Migrants who have already crossed the border and were officially deported rather than just ejected are now facing criminal charges, according to CBP.

Most families and children from countries other than Mexico are let into the United States under the Biden administration, avoiding court processes that determine whether they would be deported for illegally entering. Due to a backlog of over a million cases, these proceedings might take years to complete.

Due to the Biden administration’s recent airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans into the U.S, the backlog is projected to worsen.

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