Todd Bensman, Center for Immigration Studies, August 3, 2021
In the physics of illegal immigration at the U.S. southern border, the long, sweltering days of June and July usually bring traffic to a cyclical ebb. But this June — and now July — the number of immigrants who have entered illegally has apparently defied all such physics.
For the sixth consecutive month since President Joe Biden took office and followed through on campaign promises to dismantle his predecessor’s deterrence-based policies, the number of illegal immigrants encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection broke records, reaching 210,000 in July, the Associated Press reported Monday. The outlet cited a court filing by David Shahoulian, assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security. Based on past trends, the vast majority of those encountered were likely illegal immigrants apprehended by the Border Patrol.
Each day of July, authorities encountered an average of 6,770 people, he said. Families and unaccompanied alien minors drove much of the influx, but so did single adult “runners”, who have strained Border Patrol resources as agents struggle to push them back into Mexico again and again. Over and above the 210,000 aliens CBP encountered, an additional 37,000 illegal immigrants reportedly evaded Border Patrol entirely, likely a significant undercount.
The epicenter of the ongoing border crisis is the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas. For perspective, agents stopped 51,149 illegal immigrants there in May, 59,380 in June — and 78,000 last month, Shahoulian explained.
July’s 200,000-plus encounters exceeded the monthly total of 188,829 immigrants encountered in June, a number that until July was the largest in a single month in 21 years. That would bring the number of CBP encounters just thus far this fiscal year, which ends September 30, to an overpowering 1.3 million. U.S.-Mexico border apprehensions last reached the million mark in 2006.
The July numbers, once finalized and released in the next couple of weeks, will show that the border crisis is going from record high to record high in an upward climb into a red-zone crisis that will defy any control, short of a radical about-face by the Biden administration. Few signs point to any such policy reversal, although the White House has tentatively begun long-haul deportations to Central America aboard ICE jets.
U.S. officials probably picked up more than 19,000 unaccompanied children in July, exceeding the previous record of 18,877 in March, Shahoulian said.
As much as all of this was predictable (and predicted), a safe bet is that August, September, and beyond will set more records, because of a disconnect between the Biden administration’s words and actions.