The U.S.-Mexico border, often a source of political tension in American politics, has been particularly fraught over the past year. Title 42, the legislature enacted in times of health crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, was set to expire in December 2022, but got extended until May, when it was lifted. This meant that potential immigrants to the U.S. could no longer be turned away on the grounds of a national health emergency. At first, it was unclear whether the conclusion of Title 42 would have an impact on immigration levels.
However, over the past few months, immigration levels into the U.S. on its southern border have risen, and critics of the Biden Administration have placed the blame on the President and his policies.
This past weekend, the situation at the border escalated in its coverage online and in revealing videos that circulated, transforming from a local issue into a national news item.
If you would like the seasoned perspective of top officials within U.S. Customs and Border Protection like the agency’s CIO Sonny Bhagowalia and Executive Director for Planning, Program Analysis and Evaluation Jody Hardin, be sure to reserve a spot at Potomac Officers Club’s Homeland Security Summit. This decisive, informative Nov. 15 breakfast and lunch event will cover a range of topics related to the protection of American territory. It will take place at the Hilton-McLean in Virginia.
CBP reportedly came across over 7,500 migrant individuals on just one day—Sunday, Sept. 17—the majority of which were found in Texas locations like Rio Grande Valley, Del Rio and El Paso. About 1,500 illegally processed travelers were found in Tuscon, Arizona. The Texas cities are struggling to house all of the migrants in custody, whom El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said he’s intent on providing at least a place to sleep. Those who can’t be provided for are being bused off to cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia.
The numbers have been steadily increasing, capped off by 91,000 total arrests of migrants in family formations by CBP in August. According to the New York Post, this figure is compounded by an additional influx of unaccompanied minors who are making their way into the country through illegal means.
Concern was also raised by evidence like a video circulated by Fox News’ Griff Jones that showed migrants apparently packed onto a freight train headed from Mexico into the U.S., with some folks even having erected tents atop the train cars and others cheering as they passed the camera. (It was a FerroMex train and the footage was filmed as it exited Zacatecas in central Mexico.)
While it does seem as though immigration levels might be reaching a critical mass, the Daily Mail wrote that 2023’s statistics are still below the recorded monthly arrest average of around 200,000 per month in 2021 and 2022. However, the New York Post says that when isolating the arrest count to traveling migrant families, August was the largest ever month for arrests, with May 2019 coming right behind it with over 84,000.
For a comprehensive examination of the state of U.S. national security, including and beyond border strategy, look no further than the Potomac Officers Club’s Homeland Security Summit. It’s the only place to gain a complete understanding of the current strength areas for the U.S. in its protective efforts and the places where government contractors can assist them. Register here.