Report: Number of illegal migrants held by ICE is back to the highest levels since March 2020

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a non-partisan research organization at Syracuse University, released updated data on the number of detainees in ICE facilities. There has been a “significant bump” in just the past two weeks. The number of migrants being held by ICE is at the highest levels since March 2020.

According to TRAC’s report, as of Thursday, 27,217 people were in custody at ICE detention centers. It will not surprise you to read that Texas has the largest number of ICE detentions. Other states follow in this order – Louisiana, Arizona, Georgia, and California, TRAC reports. Research shows that this is the largest number of detentions by ICE in over a year.

The South Texas ICE Processing Center in Pearsall, Texas, currently has the most detainees.

Austin Kocher, a TRAC researcher, told Border Report this is the most ICE detentions in over a year. And it comes at a time when the country is beginning to emerge from a pandemic and Trump-era policies that sent most migrants back to their countries of origin or made them wait in Mexico during their asylum proceedings.

The Pearsall ICE processing center averages 754 migrants per day, as of July 2021.

The breakdown of the numbers that ICE arrested (3,428) and CBP arrested (23,103) of the 26,531 booked into detention during June 2021 shows that Biden’s border crisis rages on. There is no slowdown in sight, despite the brutally hot temperatures now. Also, 21,667 out of the 27,217 held in ICE detention have no criminal record. Many have minor offenses, like traffic violations. There is still a very large number of illegal migrants in ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs – 106,080. This number includes both families and individuals. San Francisco’s area office has the highest number in ATD monitoring programs.

Activists are putting pressure on Biden to end Title 42, the action that allows the expulsion of illegal migrants due to public health concerns, like the pandemic. Trump enacted Title 42 and used the Remain in Mexico agreement with Mexico to contain the spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. southern border. Biden put a halt to the Remain in Mexico policy during his first days in the White House and now activists want Title 42 to end, too. While Biden begins winding down Title 42 enforcement on the border, the administration is cracking down on Border Patrol agents.

The agency ordered vaccinated Border Patrol agents to wear masks when fulfilling a number of official duties, even as Biden begins winding down a Trump administration policy that gave the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection broad authority to turn away migrants who may carry disease. The June 15 directive, signed by then-deputy chief Raul Ortiz, mandates that “fully vaccinated U.S. Border Patrol personnel, contractors, and visitors … [wear masks] in ‘operation settings … due to increased risk situations involving potential contact with detainees, employees, and the public.'”

Those “operation settings” encompass virtually all duties for agents who patrol the border, according to one official who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon. That is why, the official added, many supervisors have been ignoring the order, which also mandates that agents wear masks during “field training … where physical contact may be expected.”

“It’s definitely pissing off [CBP officers],” the official said. “That’s probably why after [the directive came out] we were told by our supervisors not to worry about it and that they weren’t going to enforce it.”

The CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, either indoors or outdoors. The White House staff is no longer required to wear masks. This is the Biden administration choosing winners and losers in enforcing public health policy and the Border Patrol officers lose. Biden’s relaxing of border security initiatives has produced a surge in COVID-19 cases in migrant detention facilities. According to ICE’s data, “over 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases, more than 7,500 in total, in those facilities since the pandemic began have been recorded from April to July of this year.”

A spokeswoman for CBP did not dispute the language of the memo but said the agency does make some exceptions for vaccinated officers.

“In accordance with CDC guidance, CBP personnel who have been fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask or physically distance in most circumstances (i.e., two weeks after receiving the last recommended vaccine dose),” the spokeswoman said when reached for comment by the Free Beacon.

Chaos and confusion reign on the southern border while Team Biden remains in denial. There is a fix for most of these problems – re-enact the Trump policies and agreements made to secure the southern border. Migrants are not just coming from the Northern Triangle countries that Kamala chooses to concentrate on, or from Mexico. They are coming from around the world, particularly from South America. An article in the Washington Post this week provides details of how migrants from many countries arrive in Mexico to cross the border into the U.S. Once they are in Mexico they then cross at various sectors, taking advantage of uneven enforcement and lax policies. The crossings span from Arizona to Texas.

Brazilians mostly head for Yuma, Ariz. Of the 7,366 Brazilian nationals taken into custody by U.S. agents along the border in May, 63 percent crossed into the Yuma area, the latest government figures show.

The majority of Venezuelans enter the United States near Del Rio, Tex. In May, 74 percent of the 7,371 Venezuelans who crossed the border arrived there.

Ecuadorans go to El Paso. Cubans use Yuma and Del Rio. Haitians head for Del Rio and El Paso. And the Rio Grande Valley, the Border Patrol’s busiest sector, remains the prime entry point for Central American families with children under 7.

The migrants aren’t stupid. Information travels and they take advantage of it by figuring out where is best to cross. Officials say they have never seen such migration patterns to this degree. The deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol admits that confusion and sectors operating differently only contribute to the chaos.

Raul Ortiz, the deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, said migrants making the journey north often look to cross in areas rumored to be safe, relying on the recommendations of family members and social media. “Then you do have the smuggling organizations that are specifically trafficking in some of these migrant demographics,” said Ortiz, in an interview.

The pattern has left some sectors of the border under strain, he said, but CBP has ramped up capacity and streamlined processing times to avoid backups. “It would be nice if all my southwest border sectors operated the same way, but it’s just not the case,” said Ortiz.

Remember when Biden declared he didn’t want “2 million people on our border”? Too late. We are well on the way to at least 1.5 million by the end of the fiscal year on September 30. This is the highest number of total annual detentions since 2000. Joe Biden is too stubborn and obsessed with being the anti-Trump to do his job of securing the U.S. border. Where’s Kamala? Oh, never mind.