Border Patrol chief says immigration system at 'breaking point'

U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan told an audience in El Paso that our immigration system has reached a "breaking point" due to the "unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest Border."

He wasn't telling his audience anything they didn't know already.  El Paso is ground zero for the crisis, with border apprehensions skyrocketing and immigration facilities overwhelmed.

El Paso Times:

More than 36,000 migrant families have arrived in the El Paso border region in fiscal year 2019 compared with about 2,000 at the same time last year, according to CBP data.

Statistics show that the number of unaccompanied children jumped from more than 1,300 last year to more than 5,000 this fiscal year.  The federal fiscal year begins in October.

About 1,000 migrants were taken into custody in El Paso in one day on March 6 with large groups walking across the Rio Grande to turn themselves in.

The Washington Post reports that the total number of border apprehensions will easily top 1 million this year, with most border-crossers seeking asylum.

The number of migrant families coming to the border has reached new highs month after month, a trend that dramatically accelerated after President Trump announced parents and children would no longer be separated, reversing course on his "zero tolerance" crackdown.

McAleenan said the agency detained more than 4,100 migrants Tuesday, the highest one-day total at the border in more than a decade, and agency projections have border apprehensions on pace to exceed 100,000 this month — an increase of more than 30 percent.  By comparison, at the height of the last border crisis, in May 2014, agents apprehended more than 68,800 migrants that month.

The massive influx of families seeking asylum has strained almost every aspect of U.S. operations on the border, McAleenan said, nowhere more evident than here, along the Rio Grande.  Crossings have been overwhelmed with hundreds of migrants seeking asylum daily; Border Patrol stations are crammed and have no space for detainees; the immigration court system is backed up with hundreds of thousands of cases; and health services are having to triage batches of patients who have a variety of ailments and communicable diseases.

Most of the border-crossers are families seeking asylum.  By law, those families are given a slip of paper with their court hearing date and then allowed to go free.  It will be years before their asylum claims are adjudicated.

Meanwhile, Commissioner McAleenan is warning that the situation is so bad that a tragedy may be unavoidable:

Some of the migrants have been seriously ill, including infants with 105-degree fevers, a 2-year-old suffering seizures in the desert, a 19-year-old woman with a congenital heart defect who needs emergency surgery and a 40-year-old man suffering from multiple-organ failure.  Others have lice, the flu and chickenpox.

"We are doing everything we can to simply avoid a tragedy in a CBP facility," McAleenan said.  "But with these numbers, with the types of illnesses we're seeing at the border, I fear that it's just a matter of time."

He blamed the surge on smugglers and U.S. laws that he said encourage illegal migration because migrants are virtually guaranteed to be released in the United States.

"There's no questioning why this is happening," he said.

One of the biggest reasons this is happening is denial by Trump opponents that there's even a crisis at the border.  Those who voted not to give the president emergency powers to deal with the crisis should be taken on a little tour of some border stations so they can see for themselves.

For those advocating for illegal aliens entering the U.S., this situation is a dream come true.  The worse it gets, the more people will be released instead of being detained.  Asylum-seekers are supposed to be sent back across the border to wait in Mexico.  But Mexico can take only a limited number of applicants, and the numbers are simply overwhelming.

The situation is not expected to improve any time soon.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan told an audience in El Paso that our immigration system has reached a "breaking point" due to the "unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest Border."

He wasn't telling his audience anything they didn't know already.  El Paso is ground zero for the crisis, with border apprehensions skyrocketing and immigration facilities overwhelmed.

El Paso Times:

More than 36,000 migrant families have arrived in the El Paso border region in fiscal year 2019 compared with about 2,000 at the same time last year, according to CBP data.

Statistics show that the number of unaccompanied children jumped from more than 1,300 last year to more than 5,000 this fiscal year.  The federal fiscal year begins in October.

About 1,000 migrants were taken into custody in El Paso in one day on March 6 with large groups walking across the Rio Grande to turn themselves in.

The Washington Post reports that the total number of border apprehensions will easily top 1 million this year, with most border-crossers seeking asylum.

The number of migrant families coming to the border has reached new highs month after month, a trend that dramatically accelerated after President Trump announced parents and children would no longer be separated, reversing course on his "zero tolerance" crackdown.

McAleenan said the agency detained more than 4,100 migrants Tuesday, the highest one-day total at the border in more than a decade, and agency projections have border apprehensions on pace to exceed 100,000 this month — an increase of more than 30 percent.  By comparison, at the height of the last border crisis, in May 2014, agents apprehended more than 68,800 migrants that month.

The massive influx of families seeking asylum has strained almost every aspect of U.S. operations on the border, McAleenan said, nowhere more evident than here, along the Rio Grande.  Crossings have been overwhelmed with hundreds of migrants seeking asylum daily; Border Patrol stations are crammed and have no space for detainees; the immigration court system is backed up with hundreds of thousands of cases; and health services are having to triage batches of patients who have a variety of ailments and communicable diseases.

Most of the border-crossers are families seeking asylum.  By law, those families are given a slip of paper with their court hearing date and then allowed to go free.  It will be years before their asylum claims are adjudicated.

Meanwhile, Commissioner McAleenan is warning that the situation is so bad that a tragedy may be unavoidable:

Some of the migrants have been seriously ill, including infants with 105-degree fevers, a 2-year-old suffering seizures in the desert, a 19-year-old woman with a congenital heart defect who needs emergency surgery and a 40-year-old man suffering from multiple-organ failure.  Others have lice, the flu and chickenpox.

"We are doing everything we can to simply avoid a tragedy in a CBP facility," McAleenan said.  "But with these numbers, with the types of illnesses we're seeing at the border, I fear that it's just a matter of time."

He blamed the surge on smugglers and U.S. laws that he said encourage illegal migration because migrants are virtually guaranteed to be released in the United States.

"There's no questioning why this is happening," he said.

One of the biggest reasons this is happening is denial by Trump opponents that there's even a crisis at the border.  Those who voted not to give the president emergency powers to deal with the crisis should be taken on a little tour of some border stations so they can see for themselves.

For those advocating for illegal aliens entering the U.S., this situation is a dream come true.  The worse it gets, the more people will be released instead of being detained.  Asylum-seekers are supposed to be sent back across the border to wait in Mexico.  But Mexico can take only a limited number of applicants, and the numbers are simply overwhelming.

The situation is not expected to improve any time soon.