- THE EPOCH TIMES - Mar 9, 2021 -
McALLEN, Texas—As President Joe Biden rolled back several existing border initiatives, the number of people crossing illegally into the United States skyrocketed.
In February—despite a week of freezing weather—Border Patrol apprehended 101,535 illegal border crossers along the southern border, according to Jaeson Jones, a former Texas Department of Public Safety captain. Another 26,000 people evaded capture, he said.
Jones collected the provisional Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data from internal sources and it has been reviewed by The Epoch Times.
CBP told The Epoch Times that the official numbers would be available in the next couple of days.
The February number is almost triple the apprehensions from February 2020, when Border Patrol caught almost 37,000 people, while in 2019, on the cusp of the most recent crisis, the number was almost 77,000.
Many of those crossing are unaccompanied minors, who cannot be turned back if they’re from a country other than Mexico. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has just opened a second facility for the burgeoning number of minors. As of Feb. 28, approximately 7,700 unaccompanied minors were being housed across in HHS facilities.
Biden has said there’s no crisis on the border and “we’ll be able to handle it,” when asked by reporters.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a March 9 press conference that instead of calling it a crisis “what I also think is important is to talk about what the root causes are here and what we’re doing from a policy standpoint to try to address the challenges that we’re facing and that these kids are facing as they come across the border.”
On March 8, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it’s seeking volunteers from among its agencies to assist in dealing with an “overwhelming” surge at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in an email to employees on March 8, obtained by several news outlets.
The number of illegal crossings at the southern border has steadily risen since October 2020. The number of apprehensions between October 2020 and January 2021 was 296,259, while the same period the year prior saw 164,932 apprehensions, according to CBP data.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference near the U.S.–Mexico border on March 9, where he raised the alarm of a growing crisis after meeting with border officials.
The Republican governor blamed Biden’s immigration policies, saying they invite illegal immigration and are contributing to the crisis, which “will grow increasingly worse by the day.”
Among those arrested by Border Patrol since Jan. 1, more than 800 criminals have been identified, including 78 sex offenders and 62 gang members, Abbott said.
On March 6, Abbott launched an operation to counter the growing crisis, activating and deploying National Guard troops and other law enforcement officers to the border to combat drug and human smuggling.
With reporting by Zachary Stieber