Thursday, April 18, 2024

Border apprehensions reach new record, immigration officials say they are “overwhelmed”

The number of migrants apprehended by U.S. authorities along the border topped 100,000 for the second month in a row, officials said. April’s tally of 109,144 apprehended border-crossers — many of them families and children — is the highest monthly total since 2007.

“Our apprehension numbers are off the charts as compared to recent years,” said U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, whose agency is part of Customs and Border Protection. “It’s like holding a bucket under a faucet. It doesn’t matter how many buckets you give me if we can’t turn off the flow.”

That stark account came into view at a Senate immigration subcommittee hearing hosted by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican who’s up for re-election next year. Cornyn has made immigration and border security a focus in recent days after last week joining with Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, to introduce legislation to address what he has described as a “humanitarian and security” crisis along the U.S. – Mexico border.

“There are those still here in Washington who choose to ignore the gravity of the situation or worse label it as fake or manufactured,” he said. “At one point, there were elected officials who got into a debate about calling it a crisis vs. an emergency. I don’t really care how you label it, the entire system is breaking, and it’s unsustainable.”

But there does seem to be growing agreement that the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border is serious — a thought reinforced by top immigration officials.

Manny Padilla is director of the Homeland Security Department’s Joint Task Force-West and the former Rio Grande Valley sector chief for U.S. Border Patrol. He told Congress on Wednesday that he’s “never seen the conditions that we are currently experiencing on the southwest border.”