Border Patrol agents at the besieged southern border have now encountered more than one million illegal migrants so far since the beginning of the fiscal year in October, the head of a key sector announced this week
Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Gloria Chavez announced on Monday that agents had reached a million migrant encounters overnight.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as a whole had reached the one million mark last month, but the Border Patrol numbers refer to those encountered entering between ports of entry.
It marks the latest milestone in an enormous migrant crisis which has engulfed the border for over two years. There were just 400,000 Border Patrol encounters in FY 2020, which then shot up to 1.6 million in FY 21 and 2.2 million in FY 22.
The milestone comes a week after a number of eye-opening revelations by Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who told lawmakers at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing that the agency does not have operational control of the southern border.
He also told lawmakers that he disagreed with the decision by President Biden to end border wall construction in 2021 — while also saying that a number of sectors are not secure due to the overwhelming numbers they are facing.
“In five of those nine southwest border sectors, we have seen an increase in flow and that has caused a considerable strain on our resources and really has forced the Border Patrol to move so agents and even migrants to some of the other areas,” he said in response to a question about whether the border is secure.
However, the Biden administration believes it is turning the corner on the crisis, and has noted a decrease in numbers at the border since December. In February, the number of migrants encountered between ports of entry by Border Patrol was 128,877 — the second month in a row as the lowest month of encounters by the agency since Feb. 2021.
The administration is attributing that to border measures put in place in January. Those include a humanitarian parole program that allows 30,000 Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Haitians and Cubans to enter the U.S. a month — while also expanding Title 42 expulsions to those nationalities.
However, the program faces a lawsuit from 20 Republican states who say the broad use of parole is unlawful. Meanwhile, Title 42 is due to end on May 11 along with the end of the public health emergency for COVID-19 — renewing fears of a fresh migrant crisis when the order drops.