On July 13, a group of illegal migrants, numbered in the hundreds, poured across the southern Texas border at Eagle Pass guided by smugglers, often referred to as “coyotes,” placing additional strain on local authorities who say that over a recent seven day period more than 13,000 migrants entered the United States illegally.
According to Fox News, Federal authorities said that over 2,200 illegal crossings occurred in the Del Rio Sector alone on July 12.
The massive numbers over the past week are only adding to an already dire situation and it appears to only be getting worse. Many of the migrants have traveled from as far away as Cuba and Venezuela.
According to data released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) more than 239,000 migrant encounters occurred in May alone. June numbers have yet to be released.
To address the crisis, the Biden Administration is choosing to focus its response on the “root causes” that the administration says includes poverty, violence and climate change. The White House is also seeking responses from originating countries as it sees the crisis as a regional issue as well.
On July 12, Biden met with Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, to discuss how their two countries can work together to address human trafficking and the deadly fentanyl trade.
According to Fox News Biden told the Mexican President at the meeting, “But as you know, Mr. President, we need every country in the region to join us in tracking this multi-billion dollar smuggling industry that’s preying on our most vulnerable, including the 53 souls who died in a tractor trailer in San Antonio last month.”
At the meeting, Obrador reportedly committed $1.5 billion in funding for broader infrastructure for processing and security.
Illegal crossings a deadly game
According to the most recently published data by the CBP, in 2020 alone, 247 migrants lost their lives attempting to cross the southern border into the United States.
This stands in stark contrast to the northern and coastal border sectors which recorded no deaths for the same time period. However, encounters with illegal migrants are significantly lower in the northern and coastal border sectors which logged 2,155 and 2,230 encounters in 2020 respectively.
Apprehensions of illegal border crossers have been trending upwards for years. According to CBP data, in 2017 a total of 310,531 apprehensions occurred across the United States, 303,916 of them on the southwest border.
In 2018, total apprehensions soared to 404,142 with 396,579 occuring at the southwest border.
By 2019, CBP had to contend with a massive 859,501 apprehensions across the U.S. with the mass majority, 851,508, being at the southern border.
Limited staffing on the southwest border is only compounding the problem. According to CBP data, staffing levels on the southern border have plunged from a height of 18,516 personnel in 2012 to only 16,878 in 2020.