Biden admin ramps up removals as border apprehensions spike with record number of unaccompanied minors

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The Biden administration has refused to call the situation at the border a crisis, referring to it instead as a “challenge.” So how is the administration doing in dealing with that challenge? Well, the official numbers for July still haven’t been released yet but based on unofficial numbers that were reported earlier this month by the Associated Press, the answer is not very well. In case you missed those, CBS News repeated them in a story published yesterday:

U.S. agents along the border with Mexico likely made 210,000 migrant apprehensions in July, a monthly total not seen since 2000, according to preliminary figures. About 80,000 parents and children traveling as families and 19,000 unaccompanied minors, an all-time high, were among those taken into U.S. border custody last month.

Here’s what the official numbers looked like through June. As you can see, the scale on the Y-axis of this graph only goes up to 200,000 and we were nearly there in June:

If the reported numbers are correct then the Border Patrol is going to have to change the scale in order to accommodate them. That’s how well things are going.

The administration is clearly trying to get ahead of the bad news. Last week, Reuters reported the administration was making a stealth effort to “break the momentum” of irregular migration by flying migrants deep into Mexico. Here’s the Washington Post’s Nick Miroff on the unannounced change.

The Biden administration has started flying Central American border-crossers deep into southern Mexico in a new attempt to prevent repeat crossings and break the momentum of the largest migration surge in at least two decades, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will send Central American adults as well as children traveling as part of family groups on flights to Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco, and potentially other cities in southern Mexico, according to officials from both countries with knowledge of the program who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program.

U.S. authorities will rely on the emergency public health authority known as Title 42 to “expel” the migrants rather than have formal deportation proceedings. By flying the migrants to southern Mexico, U.S. and Mexican authorities believe they can reduce overcrowding in border detention facilities and shelters and relocate vulnerable groups away from dangerous Mexican border cities…

The Biden administration made no public announcement in the United States about the flights, which were first reported by Reuters. U.S. officials held a Spanish-language briefing Friday for reporters in Central America on the matter but did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about the frequency of the flights, the number of migrants they will carry and other operational details.

Once in Mexico, the migrants are offered a free bus ride back to Central America. Maybe that will give the border patrol enough breathing room to deal with the overcrowded facilities. Just today Townhall’s Julio Rosas reported on a new video clip which was apparently shot by a CBP employee who is disgusted by the conditions. We all know how this sort of image was reported on during the Trump administration:

It’s hard to overstate what a complete disaster the Biden response to this crisis has been. First off, the administration is directly responsible for creating it despite warnings this would happen. Then when the numbers started to spike in March, Biden latched on to some very dubious claims present by immigration experts affiliated with the Center for American Progress. Biden himself repeated claims that the migration was just seasonal, suggesting it would drop off as the weather got warmer. Obviously that hasn’t happened.

Next the Biden admin. tried to generate some positive press by emptying the overcrowded CBP detention facilities and sending kids to emergency HHS shelters set up in convention centers and at Fort Bliss. Word got out that several of those facilities had serious problems. Whistleblowers revealed that the Fort Bliss facility for thousands of teen migrants was being run by a local ServePro affiliate, a company that provides clean up after natural disasters. ServePro had zero experience dealing with children and never should have even been considered to run such a facility.

Meanwhile, under pressure from activists and the ACLU, the Biden admin. announced it was ready to end Title 42 removals of migrants on July 31. But at the last minute, someone in the administration apparently realized this would be a disaster and reversed course. Even so, the administration is still releasing migrants with COVID to poorly run facilities.

So it’s good news that the Biden administration is finally trying to do something to prevent repeated crossings at the border and to discourage additional migration but it’s too little, too late. If the numbers for July are correct then we’ve already seen more than 1.3 million apprehensions this fiscal year with two months yet to go. Fiscal Year 2021 will likely wind up somewhere between the third highest number of border apprehensions in history and the 6th highest. Whatever the final tally, the absurd idea that this is not a crisis and that the Biden administration is managing it well really needs to stop.