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Border cranking up again: 2,000 migrants encounters in one sector in 24 hrs, hundreds get by short-staffed agents

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Border patrol agents continue to be overwhelmed after encountering almost 2,000 migrants in the Rio Grande Valley sector in just one 24-hour span on Friday, marking a disturbing reference point in the surge at the southern border since President Joe Biden took office.

At least 262 migrants of those migrants were “gotaways” – meaning they were detected but agents lacked sufficient resources to apprehend them according to a source from the Department of Homeland Security as reported by Fox News.

The Rio Grande Valley sector includes about 277 miles of the border along the Rio Grande and 326 miles along the gulf and has witnessed a 161 percent increase in migrant encounters, and has witnessed more than 65,000 encounters so far in Fiscal Year 2022 compared to the same period the prior year.

In the nearby Del Rio sector where migrant crossings caused an outright crisis last month when as many as 15,000 migrants gathered under a bridge in the small border town of Del Rio, Texas, there has been a 236 percent increase of migrant encounters so far this Fiscal Year compared to the prior year and a total of 6,500 “gotaways.”

In all, Fiscal Year 2021 saw more than 1.7  million encounters with migrants along the southern border. In September, which marks the last month of the federal government’s fiscal year, there were 192,000 such encounters.

The influx of migrants since Biden took office has been influenced in large part by the president rescinding a President Donald Trump era policy that required migrants to remain in Mexico while they awaited their immigration court dates.

A federal court judge later determined the Migrant Protection Program (MPP) was not rolled back in a legal manner leading the administration to announce simultaneously that would be re-implemented in mid-November in line with the court order while also announcing the ultimate termination of the policy. This is despite an acknowledgment that the program “likely contributed to reduced migratory flows.”

“This Administration is tackling longstanding problems that have plagued our immigration system for decades in order to achieve needed systemic change.  MPP does not help meet this goal,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the October 29 memo. “MPP had endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts, and did not address the root causes of irregular migration. MPP not only undercuts the Administration’s ability to implement critically needed and foundational changes to the immigration system, it fails to provide the fair process and humanitarian protections that individuals deserve under the law.”

Immigration officials changed their paperwork policies in March of this year and intend to send 78,000 migrants court documents after they were released into the United States. Instead of processing those not taken into federal custody and issuing formal notices to appear, they directed migrants to check in with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office within 60 days to start the formal immigration process.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is mailing charging documents to place noncitizens in removal proceedings who have been paroled or released under prosecutorial discretion by Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” the agency said in a statement. “Noncitizens are being directed to their closest ICE Field Office and will be processed using the information collected by CBP as evidence of citizenship and removability.”

Ashley Hill

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