By: Bethany Blankley | The Center Square
U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered a new record number of illegal border crossers in November as the agency pleaded for help from Congress.
Total illegal border crossers encountered along the southwest border in November were 242,418. The majority of apprehensions, 191,113, occurred between ports of entry.
CBP agents also processed more than 43,000 people at ports of entry who made appointments through the CBP One App.
As part of the administration’s expanded parole program to foreign nationals from specific countries, which Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced earlier this year, an unprecedented number of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans were released into the U.S. who otherwise would not have been allowed in. Early this year, 20 states sued over the program, which they argue is illegal.
The plan initially allowed up to 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to enter the U.S. a month. Since then, that total and the program were expanded.
Through the end of November 2023, CBP reports that 297,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans “arrived lawfully under the parole processes.”
More than 62,000 Cubans, more than 120,000 Haitians, more than 54,000 Nicaraguans, and more than 81,000 Venezuelans “were vetted and authorized for travel,” CBP states. They were released into the U.S.
CBP also states that more than 60,000 Cubans, 112,000 Haitians, 47,000 Nicaraguans, and 76,000 Venezuelans arrived at the border and were granted parole.
CBP processing facilities are currently at capacity along the southwest border in what is projected to be the largest number of illegal entries for the month of December in U.S. history.
In response to the surge at the border, CBP directed more personnel and transportation resources to areas being hard hit in order to transfer illegal foreign nationals “from high traffic areas to locations where they can be efficiently and humanely processed,” it said. “We are screening and vetting every individual we encounter at the border and those without a legal basis to stay are processed for removal,” the statement says.
Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy Miller also said the agency needed more resources from Congress, at a time when Republican Congressional leaders are planning on impeaching Mayorkas in January over the border crisis.
“We are facing a serious challenge along the southwest border and CBP and our federal partners need more resources from Congress – as outlined in the supplemental budget request – to enhance border security and America’s national security,” Miller said in a statement. “Despite ongoing challenges, in November, the men and women of CBP continued their tireless work and recorded increased seizures of illegal narcotics while facilitating lawful trade and increased holiday travel.”
U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., who has vowed to impeach Mayorkas next month, said, “When there is no meaningful consequence applied to illegal activity, that activity will continue – and others will get the message that they can also engage in it with impunity. That’s exactly what has happened at our borders since Secretary Mayorkas took office. Aliens cross the border illegally, test the system, are released into the interior, and then call home to share their experiences. That’s happened millions of times in the past three years.”
Green said this will not stop “so long as Secretary Mayorkas doubles down on his refusal to enforce the immigration laws passed by Congress. He must be held accountable.”
Former Border Patrol agent Frank Lopez, Jr., who’s running for Congress in a district that includes areas of the Texas border being hard hit, told The Center Square, “The cost to taxpayers is astronomical but the more alarming aspect is the detrimental and dangerous reallocation of highly and specially trained personnel away from national security missions.
“Instead of targeting potential terrorist activities and transnational criminal operations like drug, alien and child trafficking, our air marshals, HSI investigators and frontline border agents and officers have been reassigned to babysit and transport people into the interior. This is a grotesquely unconstitutional, irresponsible and treacherous situation.”
The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security released a series of reports detailing the threats posed to the country as a result of the Biden administration’s border policies. The committee also released a series of transcripts of interviews of Border Patrol chiefs who said that agents being pulled from field have detrimental consequences and the U.S. isn’t secure.