Border Patrol Sets New Monthly Apprehension Record in May

Deterring illegal migration is no longer Biden’s policy — inviting asylum applications is

By Andrew R. Arthur on June 17, 2022

CBP has released its statistics on migrant encounters at the Southwest border in May — and they are shocking, even by Biden administration standards. Last month, Border Patrol agents apprehended more illegal migrants at the Southwest border — 222,656 — than in any previous month in history. That makes a sort of sad sense, because unlike every one of his predecessors, Biden isn’t attempting to deter illegal entrants — he is instead inviting asylum applications from any foreign national who can make it here.

Historical Perspective. Border Patrol keeps records on monthly apprehensions at the Southwest border going back to October 1999. In those 22-plus years, the largest number of apprehensions ever in a single month occurred in March 2000, when agents nabbed 220,063 aliens at the U.S.-Mexico line.

That means that in May, agents beat their prior record by just over 1 percent. Here’s why these numbers — bad as they are — are much, much worse than they appear.

Demographic Shift. In FY 2000, Border Patrol apprehended just fewer than 1.644 million aliens at the Southwest border. Of those aliens, more than 1.615 million — 98.2 percent of the total — were Mexican nationals.

Agents could almost always process those aliens out of custody and back across the border in eight hours or less, via either voluntary return, reinstatement, or expedited removal. Few were sent to regular removal proceedings before an immigration judge or prosecuted criminally.

Of the 222,656 aliens apprehended at the Southwest border in May, just over 70,000 — less than 31.5 percent—were Mexican nationals. For what it’s worth, fewer than 47,100 of those illegal migrants (21.1 percent) were from the “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Long-Distance Migrants. Shockingly, almost half — more than 47.3 percent — of the illegal migrants apprehended at the Southwest border in May were “long-distance” migrants, who had traveled to the northern border of Mexico and entered the United States illegally from beyond Central America.

Nearly 19,000 came from Colombia, more that 50 times as many as entered the United States illegally in May the year before, and 1,187 times as many as in May 2020.

Just over 18,900 Nicaraguans were nabbed at the Southwest border last month, 4.3 times the apprehension total in May 2021, and 278 times the number of Nicaraguan apprehensions in May 2020.

Worse, more than 25,000 made the circuitous trip to the Rio Grande or Sonoran Desert from the island nation of Cuba, more than 10 times as many as the same month a year before, and 48 times as many as in May 2020. That said, the number of apprehended Cubans dropped from April, when apprehensions totaled 34,800-plus.

Speaking of circuitous routes from Caribbean nations, there were 7,666 Haitian apprehensions in May, 2.8 times as many as the same month one year prior, and 1,095 times the total in May 2020.

Traveling to the Southwest border from the islands is one thing, but what about from Asia?

Some 2,434 Indian nationals made the trip from the subcontinent (assuming that they were not firmly resettled elsewhere and just realized the U.S. border was open), 7.38 times the number of Indian nationals apprehended by Border Patrol in the same month in FY 2021, and almost 106 times the number of Indian apprehensions in FY 2020.

Why compare last month to May 2021? Border Patrol set an all-time record for apprehensions at the Southwest border in FY 2021, and if the apprehension numbers continue to trend higher, FY 2022 will end up being much, much worse.

What About Title 42? But what about Title 42?, you might ask.

Well, putatively it remains in effect. CDC had planned to end the expulsion orders it had issued for illegal migrants pursuant to Title 42 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic on May 23, but on May 20, Judge Robert R. Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction continuing Title 42.

In May, however, just over 98,500 illegal migrants were expelled from the United States under CDC in response to the Covid-19 pandemic — 44.25 percent of the total number of Southwest border apprehensions.

Rulings by federal judges notwithstanding, Title 42 is, to the Biden administration (and to quote Hamlet), “more honor’d in the breach than in the observance”, as the administration’s efforts to follow through with the end of Title 42 reveal.

That said, nearly 62,000 of the migrants who were expelled under Title 42 in May (62.8 percent of the total) were Mexican nationals, and nearly all of them (more than 60,000) were single adults; the rest were adults travelling illegally with children in “family units”, or “FMUs”.

This is the same group of aliens who would have been quickly returned across the border pursuant to voluntary return, expedited removal, and reinstatement in FY 2000. Most of the rest (more than 29,500) were from the Northern Triangle countries, again largely (23,556 or 79.6 percent) single adults.

Why Are They Coming Now? Because the Administration Wants Them to Apply for Asylum. Which brings me to the reason why that record number of migrants is entering illegally across the Southwest border now.

In early May, I analyzed a series of statements DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had made before Congress in recent testimony, and explained that — unlike every prior administration in history — the current one not only doesn’t have a plan to deter illegal migrants, it has no interest in doing so.

Keep in mind the Secure Fence Act of 2006 requires the DHS secretary to “take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.”

“Operational control” in this context is defined as “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband”. By that standard (which is actually a congressional mandate), Mayorkas failed to maintain operational control of the Southwest border 222,656 times last month.

Mayorkas does not view operational control as his mission, however. What is his mission, you may ask? I will let the secretary tell you for himself.

Mayorkas appeared on Fox News Sunday on May 1, and host Bret Baier asked him whether it is “the objective of the Biden administration to ... sharply reduce the total number of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border?”

Mayorkas responded: “It is the objective of the Biden administration to make sure that we have safe, orderly, and legal pathways for individuals to be able to access our legal system.”

In other words, Mayorkas believes that his job is to facilitate the asylum applications of as many foreign nationals who can make it to the Southwest border and enter the United States as possible. That is why DHS and DOJ have begun implementing a rule to rubber stamp the asylum applications of illegal migrants (and ensure they are able to get work authorization as quickly as possible).

The United States is under an obligation to offer asylum and other forms of protection to aliens in this country, but not under one to allow aliens to enter for the express purpose of seeking protections (except in the limited case of foreign nationals abroad who have already been granted refugee status).

Such a requirement would be nonsensical. All non-Mexican illegal migrants at the Southwest border who are seeking asylum had to cross through Mexico on their way here. Mexico grants asylum, as do all seven countries in Central America, meaning there is no reason for any “other than Mexican” asylum seeker to come here.

Despite this, the Biden administration has turned the laws barring the admission of aliens without visas or permission to enter the United States on their collective heads and is now utilizing those laws to expedite the entry of aliens with no right to enter this country simply to allow them to seek protection.

While some may deem all illegal migrants to be “asylum seekers” (and treat them as such), there is no evidence that DHS is even screening those aliens to determine whether they have asylum claims. Rather, all indications are that those aliens are being released into the United States — for up to a year — to allow them to seek protection, or not.

Man-Made Disaster at the Southwest Border. CBP’s numbers for May reveal how large the disaster at the Southwest border has become. It is a man-made disaster, however, and its creator is the current occupant of the Oval Office.