Border Patrol agents, equipped with sophisticated technology, attempt to apprehend migrants illegally crossing into the United States. But securing the border has become more difficult as agents are taken off the line to process unprecedented numbers of illegal migrants turning themselves in, instead of preventing smuggling, drug and human trafficking, and identifying national security threats. The end of Title 42 will push the numbers of migrants and got-aways even higher.
Todd Bensman, the Center’s senior national security fellow, joins agents in New Mexico for a nighttime search for illegal migrants and warns of the got-away trends. Got-aways are unlawful border-crossers who are “directly or indirectly observed making an unlawful entry into the United States”, but who are not apprehended. Since the inauguration of President Biden, more than 1.5 million illegal migrants have been detected entering the country illegally, but have successfully evaded agents. And the monthly numbers continue to grow.
This population has a reason for not turning themselves in to Border Patrol – it includes criminals, ineligible prior deportees, contraband smugglers, or people from terror-harboring nations who would naturally want to evade Border Patrol.
This creates public safety and national security concerns; these concerns were a key part of yesterday’s debate in the U.S. House of Representatives and contributed to the passage of the “Secure Border Act of 2023” (H.R. 2).