Officials with Customs and Border Protection predicted correctly. More than 100,000 illegal aliens crossed the southwest border of the United States in March.
The massive influx is more than double the number in March last year, and the new numbers bring to more than 420,000 this fiscal year the number of “migrants” attempting to get into the United States but stopped at the border.
The new data come on the heels of Tuesday’s eye-opening testimony from Rodolfo Karisch, border chief in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) sector of the border.
The border, he said in so many words, is under siege.
The New Data
CBP’s monthly data break down the illegal-alien invasion into two categories: border apprehensions, meaning illegals caught crossing the border, and “inadmissibles” — illegals nailed at ports of entry who cannot enter the country.
The total in March for both was 103,492.
Illegals caught between ports of entry numbered 92,607, including 30,555 single adults, 53,077 in families, and 8,975 unaccompanied minors.
Inadmissibles numbered 10,885: 6,168 single adults, 4,194 in families, 423 unaccompanied minors, and 100 minors accompanied by an adult.
Total of both for the fiscal year? 422,334.
CPB officials have been predicting for weeks a staggering figure for March, and said the situation at the border, as CPB chieftain Kevin McAleenan put it, is “unsustainable.”
At a news conference a month ago, CBP Operations chief Brian Hastings described large groups of 100 or more coming across the border, often as decoys for drug smugglers.
This fiscal year, he said, CBP has caught 70 of those groups, totaling 12,000 apprehensions. Last year, just 13 such groups crossed the border; in 2017, just two. If the wave continues, border agents expect to catch 174 large groups with 29,000 deportable illegals.
The effort to provide medical care for the irresponsible “migrants” alone should be enough to shake the faith of even the most die-hard advocate of open borders. Hastings said CBP sends about 55 illegals a day for medical care. The number reached 63 in December, and he said CBP will likely have to send 31,000 illegals for medical care by year’s end. Last year, the figure was 12,000.
Since December 22, agents have logged 57,000 hours at hospitals or medical facilities at a cost of $2.2 million in CBP salaries. And 25 to 40 percent of the agency’s manpower goes to the medical care and maintenance of illegal aliens. From 2014 to 2018, he said, CBP spent $98 million on illegal-alien healthcare.
McAleenan noted that February’s figure of 76,525 was the highest in 12 years.
The figure for March, 103,492, more than doubles the 50,347 of last March, and is more than six times the number that crossed in March 2017. And the figure for this March is higher than any March since 2014, including the 57,405 who crossed that year.
As well, the total figure thus far in fiscal 2019, 422,344, far surpasses the total for all of fiscal 2017, 425,517.
At this pace, nearly 845,000 illegals — more than 2,300 per day — will hit the border by September 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Other frightening numbers came from Karisch in his Senate testimony.
Karisch said his 277-mile section of the border is but a “small fraction” of the United States, but it accounts for 38 percent of all illegal immigration across the southwest border.
“To put things in perspective,” he told the committee, “last year agents in RGV made 162,000 apprehensions. We’re already at 147,000.” He anticipated 260,000 in his sector by the close of the fiscal year.
Karisch said his agents are catching more than 1,000 people a day. Last week, he said, his agents collared 1,766 illegals in a single day.
Daily apprehensions at the border through this fiscal year’s 182 days is 2,320. That figure includes inadmissibles.
More Drug Smuggling
CBP has released two more accounts of major drug busts at the border.
On Friday, border agents arrested a 48-year-old woman trying to smuggle 126 packages of methamphetamine “stashed inside the SUV’s rear seats, cargo area, spare tire and inside the quarter panels.”
CBP seized 128 pounds of the drug valued at $204,800.
They also nabbed a smuggler trying to cart in nine pounds of cocaine worth about $222,000.
The smugglers were apparently Americans.
Stopping the flow of drugs into the country is the reason the Trump administration offered for diverting $1 billion in Pentagon spending for a border wall. Federal law allows the president to spend defense money as he sees fit if the purpose is to stop narcotics smuggling.
But drugs and illegal aliens aren’t the only problem at the border. On Saturday, CBP agents seized $170,030 from an American and a Mexican who were departing the country at Presidio, Texas.
Photo: AP Images