A massive group of hundreds of illegal immigrants hit just one part of the southern border early Saturday as agents face tens of thousands of illegal crossings each month and as the end of Title 42 enforcement approaches.
Fox News drone cameras showed the group of several hundred migrants who crossed and turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, Saturday morning.
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) source told Fox News there have been over 72,000 illegal crossings in the Del Rio Sector, where Eagle Pass is located, since the beginning of October when fiscal year 2022 began. There have been over 1,400 illegal crossings in the last 24 hours alone.
The southern border has been hit by a massive surge in illegal crossings since early 2021. There were more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2021, and that number jumped to over 2.3 million last fiscal year.
This week, Customs and Border Protection announced there had been more than 230,000 encounters in October, up from more than 164,000 last October. The Biden administration has said the border is “secure” and “closed” and has emphasized a response based on opening legal asylum pathways, targeting smugglers and combating “root causes” like poverty, violence and climate change.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers this week the crisis was not just limited to the U.S. border.
“The entire hemisphere is suffering a migration crisis. We are seeing an unprecedented movement of people from country to country. It is not restricted to the southern border,” Mayorkas said at a Senate hearing.
Republicans, meanwhile, have blamed the Biden administration’s border policies, including ending Trump-era border security systems and narrowing interior enforcement, which they say has encouraged migrants to make the journey north. Some border states have taken matters into their own hands.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week declared an “invasion” at the border, a move he said authorizes Texas law enforcement to return illegal immigrants.
The new groups of migrants arrived after a federal judge ruled that the use of Title 42 to expel migrants is unlawful and ordered the government to wind down the use of the public health order first implemented in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration sought and was granted a five-week delay to implement its plan for a post-Title 42 border situation. The Trump-era order has been used to expel a majority of migrants at the border, and the Biden administration last month expanded its use to include Venezuelan nationals.
Border Patrol sources have told Fox News they fear the ending of the expulsions will lead to a fresh wave of migrants trying to get into the U.S. on the belief that they are now less likely to be removed.
But DHS has said its plan includes the greater use of other removal authorities such as expedited removal and has warned potential migrants they will not be allowed in.
“People should not listen to the lies by smugglers who will take advantage of vulnerable migrants, putting lives at risk. The border is closed, and we will continue to fully enforce our immigration laws at the border,” DHS said in a statement.