More than 1 million illegal crossings of the US-Mexico border will have been attempted over the first seven months of 2021, preliminary data indicates — defying expectations that the illegal immigration crisis would ease as temperatures climbed.
While US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have yet to release the official number of border encounters that took place last month, The Washington Examiner reported that initial calculations put the total at 188,000, an increase of just over 4 percent from the 180,034 apprehended in May.
If confirmed, the number of southwestern border stops would be the most in any month of June for at least 21 years. It would also be an 80 percent increase over the number of apprehensions in June 2019 and a whopping 469 percent increase over the number of encounters in June 2020, when migration patterns were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Most shockingly, it puts CBP on track to make its 1 millionth border stop of 2021 sometime this month. The last time at least 1 million stops were recorded at the US-Mexico border in a calendar year was in 2006, and the milestone wasn’t reached until December of that year.
In all, a total of 711,784 apprehensions have been made by CBP in the first five months of this year. Because virtually all adults who illegally cross are not taken into custody and referred for prosecution, many have repeatedly attempted to get into the US.
“When you have open-border policies, people say, ‘I’m coming. I’m going to risk everything,’” former acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told the Examiner. “That’s why I keep saying that the most inhumane thing we do for migrants is to open our borders because you are telling them that their lives are worth risking because once they get here, they are going to be let in, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”
Law enforcement officials in the border region have repeatedly warned that more illegal immigrants will die attempting the treacherous journey into the US.
The Arizona nonprofit Humane Borders, which maps the recoveries of bodies in the state using data from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office in Tucson, said Monday 43 sets of human remains were found in the state’s border region last month. At least 29 of those people had been dead for less than a week.
Humane Borders mapping coordinator Mike Kreyche told the Associated Press that 127 sets of remains have been found in the first six months of this year, compared to 96 over the same period last year.
Texas officials say they also have seen an increase in migrant deaths this year.
The Brooks County Sheriff’s Department in southern Texas last month reported 36 migrant deaths in the first five months of 2021, more than all of last year.
Last month, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) said in an interview that county officials in the Lone Star State are asking him for more body bags to keep pace with the death toll.
“I sit in front of them and I go, ‘If I can do one thing for you, what would that be?’ And this is the ask I’m getting,” Gonzales told Newsmax. “They go, ‘Tony, we need more body bags.’ And I’m going, ‘Body bags? Why do you need body bags?’ They go, ‘Migrants are dying at record numbers, and we don’t have body bags to handle the situation.’ That’s what is happening on the ground.”
Members of both parties have blamed the Biden administration for the crisis after President Biden took a series of actions during his first days in office to reverse the hardline policies of his predecessor Donald Trump, including halting construction of the border wall and ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum-seekers.
With Post wires