Fiscal year-end figures provided this month by the Department of Homeland Security show that 2021 was the record year for all-time high apprehensions on the southern border. Federal agents apprehended 1,659,206 illegal immigrants at the southwest border in 2021, breaking the previous high of 1,643,679 in 2000. Pictured: U.S. Border Patrol agents watch as illegal immigrants cross the Rio Grande river from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas on September 23, 2021. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
One does not see reporting in the American news media nowadays about the "Biden Caravans," thousands of immigrants making their way north to the border region of the United States. News media reports on the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border are also few and far between. The deficit in reporting and public attention does not, however, mean that the border crisis has abated. In fact, the crisis has deepened on all fronts: it is a humanitarian disaster compounded by rampant criminality and grave national security threats.
The "mother of all caravans" (also known as the "march for liberty, dignity and peace") is on the way from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, to the United States. By the time you read this, they may already have arrived. More than 4,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to be in the caravan. Spanish-language reporting (that includes video) on the caravan claims that the group consists mainly of Haitians and Central Americans. Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, is quoted in a Mexican news story as saying that the government will act with prudence and caution in accordance with human rights laws, although he adds that migrants are being fooled because they will not be allowed to enter the United States.
Fiscal year-end figures provided this month by the Department of Homeland Security show that 2021 was the record year for all-time high apprehensions on the southern border. Federal agents apprehended 1,659,206 illegal immigrants at the southwest border in 2021, breaking the previous high of 1,643,679 in 2000. Illegal "got-aways" – migrants who crossed the border without turning themselves in for processing -- is estimated by law enforcement at an additional 250,000 for the year. "On average, noted one report, 1,600 migrants escape capture each day."
The Department of Homeland Security defines "apprehension" as: "The arrest of a removable alien by the Department of Homeland Security. Each apprehension of the same alien in a fiscal year is counted separately." Under the Biden administration, the vast majority of apprehended illegal aliens are processed for identification purposes and then released into the interior of the United States on the condition that the alien promises to appear at an immigration hearing sometime in the future. The date and location of the hearing is not set at the time of release. Border communities have struggled to keep up with the number of released aliens, as have transportation service providers such as bus companies and small regional airports.
In fiscal year 2020, federal agents apprehended only 400,651 on the southern border. The Trump administration's policy was (generally) not to release aliens into the American interior. Unlawfully present aliens were processed for removal from the United States. Many intending to enter the United States were held in Mexico by the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (commonly referred to as the "remain in Mexico" policy) that required aliens to apply for entry before crossing the border. The Biden administration, despite an August 2021 court ruling by Texas-based US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, continues to find ways through policy rules and memoranda of instruction, to circumvent the law and permit unlawful entry.
Other-than-Mexican ("OTM") numbers have increased over the last FY also – by large percentages: Haiti (132%), Turkey (89%), India (82%), Ukraine (81%) and China (75%) all have citizens seeking unlawful entry to the United States. Eight of the nine Border Patrol sectors saw triple-digit percentage increases in illegal immigrants over last year and one, Yuma in Arizona, reported an eye-popping 1,200% hike in apprehensions.
In 2021, most of the illegal aliens, 608,000, originated in Mexico, followed by Honduras (309,000), Guatemala (279,000) and El Salvador (96,000). In the last month of the fiscal year, migrants from those four Latin American countries accounted for well over half (63.7%) of apprehensions along the Mexican border. The records show that 367,000 arrests involved Haitians, Cubans, Brazilians, Venezuelans, and Ecuadorans. To top the year, Border Patrol encounters with Haitians rose from 7,590 in August to a startling 17,639 in September. The final month also saw big increases in migrants from other countries as well, including Venezuelans (71%), Romanians (49%) and Colombians (44%).
The Biden administration is getting exactly what its policies promote and subsidize. The numbers are irrefutable. That being said, the Biden administration has also decided to skew the numbers more favorably toward their goals for an even more "open borders" unrestricted immigration with a new policy directive from Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (published on October 27, 2021) fencing off a number of new "protected areas" where no immigration law enforcement activities are permitted. The new protected areas include:
- Schools, including pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, vocational or trade schools, and colleges and universities.
- Medical or mental healthcare facilities, like hospitals, doctors' offices, health clinics, vaccination or testing sites, urgent care centers, sites that serve pregnant women, or community health centers.
- Houses of worship or religious studies and places where children gather, like playgrounds, recreation centers, childcare centers, before- or after-school care centers, foster care facilities, group homes for children, or school bus stops.
- Social services establishments, like crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, victims' services centers, child advocacy centers, supervised visitation centers, family justice centers, community-based organizations, facilities that serve the disabled, homeless shelters, drug or alcohol counseling and treatment facilities, or food banks or other establishments that distribute food or other essentials of life to people in need.
- Places where disaster or emergency response and relief are provided, including along evacuation routes, where shelter or emergency supplies, food, or water are being distributed, or registration for disaster-related assistance or family reunification is underway.
- Places where funerals or other religious or civil ceremonies or observances occur, as well as ongoing parades, demonstrations, or rallies.
Following the law of economics that states "You get more of what you subsidize" -- it should come as no surprise that the most recent caravan is just the next evolutionary wave headed our way. A few weeks ago, Panama's foreign minister, Erika Mouynes, warned that there are more than 65,000 mostly Haitian illegal aliens ready to head north through Latin America. Since January, more than 86,000 migrants who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border went through Panama, according to Mouynes. "We have been sounding the alarm for months about this," the Panamanian official said in a Spanish news article published on September 29, adding that the numbers indicate migration will increase.
Border communities and states will feel the impact of Biden's policies first and the hardest, but what this administration has unleashed on the nation at
-large will have enormous consequences for every facet of our society: housing, healthcare, education, services, public safety, quality of life, employment, economics, the justice system, and – of course – voting rolls. The voting issue is indisputably altered in California under Governor Gavin Newsom, where election officials mailed unsolicited ballots state-wide, reportedly enabling "Cheating in plain sight."
There will come a point when the consequences and costs of the Biden administration's reckless abandonment of law and order will come into focus for all Americans. That may happen in time to make changes and restore our borders and security -- but it may come on the heels of some yet unrealized national disaster at the hands of criminals or terrorists.
Chris Farrell is Director of Investigations at Judicial Watch and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.