July is likely to be a record-breaking month for apprehension of unaccompanied minors at the border

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The official numbers will be out in a few days and it is likely that the apprehensions by Border Patrol of unaccompanied minors reached a new high in July. The number of people who came in families likely will be the second-highest total on record. It is incredible, given the numbers we’ve seen in past months, but even in the hottest months of the year, the Biden border crisis grows.

We continue to look at 20-year highs. And, it’s mostly concentrated in the Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley sectors in south Texas. You know, the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) where Kamala Harris didn’t bother to go, choosing instead to go to the El Paso area where the border crisis is more controlled thanks to barriers in place.

U.S. authorities likely picked up more than 19,000 unaccompanied children in July, exceeding the previous high of 18,877 in March, according to David Shahoulian, assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security. The June total was 15,253.

The number of people encountered in families during July is expected at about 80,000, Shahoulian said. That’s shy of the all-time high of 88,857 in May 2019 but up from 55,805 in June.

Overall, U.S. authorities stopped migrants about 210,000 times at the border in July, up from 188,829 in June and the highest in more than 20 years. But the numbers aren’t directly comparable because many cross repeatedly under a pandemic-related ban that expels people from the country immediately without giving them a chance to seek asylum but carries no legal consequences.

Yesterday, John wrote about the ACLU’s pursuit of legal action against the Biden administration over the use of Title 42 at the southern border to deter the spread of the coronavirus into the U.S. by illegal migrants. The court filings from the resumed legal battle provide government disclosure of the number of apprehensions recorded at the border. The CDC renewed its emergency power under Title 42 on Monday. DHS announced it will continue to ban asylum for single adults and families even though the agency is under fire from groups like the ACLU. Just as when the Trump administration decided to use Title 42 as a method of mitigation for the spread of the coronavirus, DHS and the Biden administration now realize that discontinuing the policy would be disastrous. It’s a public health necessity. “Title 42 is not an immigration authority, but a public health authority and its continued use is dictated by CDC and governed by the CDC’s analysis of public health factors,” the department said in a statement.

The Biden administration and DHS have shown complete incompetence and an inability to secure the southern border but maybe this is a good sign that at least it will keep Title 42 in place for an undetermined amount of time, as of yet.

As noted above, the official numbers won’t be available for a few more days but preliminary numbers are usually pretty close to what will be final numbers. In the first 29 days of July, border authorities encountered a daily average of 6,779 people. That number includes 616 unaccompanied minors and 2,583 people who came in alleged family units. That’s a daily average. Is it any wonder that 1,000 migrants are being held under a bridge in Mission, Texas by Border Patrol? There is nowhere to put them.

The ACLU released a statement of their displeasure that the Biden administration won’t do what they are pressuring it to do – abandon the use of Title 42. Open border advocates don’t care about public health issues and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Biden administration has abandoned its promise of fair and humane treatment for families seeking safety, leaving us no choice but to resume litigation,” said Neela Chakravartula, managing attorney for the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.

Since late March, the ACLU has been working with advocates to choose particularly vulnerable migrants stuck in Mexico for the U.S. government to allow in to seek asylum. ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said the exemptions will continue for another week.

“Seven months of waiting for the Biden administration to end Title 42 is more than enough,” Gelernt said.

Title 42 will remain in effect until the CDC director “determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered noncitizens has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health.” That will take a while. Infected migrants are crossing the border and potentially spreading the pandemic into border towns and communities as Border Patrol moves them around. The public health crisis won’t remain in Texas or Arizona, it will spread out into other states as the migrants are bussed or flown out of Texas and Arizona for other destinations. David Shahoulian, assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security, issued a dire warning about the Biden border crisis. DHS is overwhelmed, as are border facilities. This is not the time to disregard Title 42.

“These encounter rates have strained DHS operations and caused border facilities to be filled beyond their normal operating capacity, impacting the ability to employ social distancing in these congregate settings. At the same time, DHS is also experiencing significantly increased rates of noncitizens testing positive for COVID19,” the declaration reads, arguing that the risk has been increased as a result of the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant.

The Border Patrol, which has been operating under Covid-19 adjusted capacity, is over capacity in seven of its nine southwest border sectors, according to the declaration.