Border apprehensions are highest in 21 years but removals dropped compared to previous month

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has released the border apprehension numbers for July. The Post’s Nick Miroff reports they represent a level not seen in 21 years:

The number of migrants detained along the Mexico border crossed a new threshold last month, exceeding 200,000 for the first time in 21 years, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforcement data released Thursday.

Among the 212,672 migrants taken into U.S. custody in July were 82,966 family members and 18,962 unaccompanied teenagers and children, an all-time high, and whose custody requirements have once more overwhelmed the Biden administration as it struggles to care for them safely in the middle of the pandemic.

Biden officials predicted earlier this year that the volume of people crossing the border would decline with the summer heat. Instead, Central American adults and children are crossing again in large groups of 300 or more, and U.S. border facilities are jammed with migrants shoulder-to-shoulder in detention facilities.

Here’s the CBP graph. As I mentioned yesterday, they had to change the scale on the y-axis in order to make the new numbers fit. The blue line is this year. The orange line is the border crisis of 2019.

As you can see, the numbers do not fit the normal seasonal pattern where the numbers drop during the summer months when it gets hot.

DHS Sec. Mayorkas made a statement about the numbers today during which he said, “We have a plan. We are executing our plan. And that takes time.” But the idea that this is going according to plan is pure PR spin for the media. Nothing has gone as they predicted and their “plan” to deal with it is once again being overwhelmed by reality.

Mayorkas pointed out today that about 27% of the people apprehended at the border have made previous attempts to cross within the past 12 months. As a result the administration is now flying people removed under Title 42 to southern Mexico where they will be less likely to show up in next month’s numbers. “We are expelling them further into the interior of Mexico, where it’s far more difficult to try again,” he said.

However, Miroff points out in his piece at the Post that these numbers don’t include “more than 1,000 daily ‘gotaway’ incidents, in which authorities are able to detect an illegal entry β€” often using cameras and sensors β€” but do not make an arrest.” In other words, there may be about 60,000 people who were double counted last month (having tried to cross the border before) but there were also more than 30,000 who made it into the country and weren’t counted at all.

In any case, the recidivism doesn’t prove that things aren’t as bad as they look. On the contrary, the CBP is still putting in the effort to arrest these people multiple times. Why is this happening? In part it’s because of “push” factors driving people out of Central America, but it’s also because the Biden administration has effectively opened the border for all unaccompanied minors and for most families. That created a significant “pull” factor that is making people attempt crossings in dangerously hot weather and making some abandon their children at the border.

Fox News points out that despite Sec. Mayorkas claim that the administration is working their plan, the number of removals actually dropped this month compared to last month:

“Mayorkas] emphasized that many of those 212,000 resulted in expulsions under Title 42 public health protections, with 95,788 Title 42 removals. However, that number is lower than in June, where 104,907 migrants were removed under Title 42.”

So with apprehensions way up, removals are going down. You can bet that word of this will make its way back to smugglers who profit from this trade. The word will spread that now may be your best chance to enter the US, especially if you bring your kids.

Here’s Sec. Mayorkas full speech. He talks a lot about efforts to stem the root causes of this wave of migration, i.e. foreign aid intended to keep migrants at home. As I’ve written before, there’s little evidence that works. Mayorkas is just counting on people listening to a list of all the money we’re spending in Central America not knowing that none of it is likely to stop the current crisis. But I guess the administration has to say something to make it look like it is pursuing a plan even if what they’re saying is nonsense.