Highest Quarter on Record
In the first quarter of Fiscal Year 24, the number of migrant encounters at the southern border has surpassed 760,000, setting a new record. This figure includes both illegal immigrants encountered between ports of entry and migrants entering at ports of entry via the CBP One app. The previous record, set in September, was 269,735 encounters. The continuous surge in numbers has overwhelmed Border Patrol officials, who have been struggling to manage the situation.
Policies and Challenges
The surge has become a subject of political contention, with Republicans attributing it to the administration’s policies, particularly the reversal of Trump-era policies. On the other hand, the administration argues that it is dealing with a larger challenge that extends beyond its control and requires funding and immigration reform legislation from Congress. The administration’s strategy includes expanding “lawful” pathways for migration, cracking down on smugglers, and imposing stricter consequences for illegal entry.
Border Funding Request
Currently, the White House is requesting additional border funding as part of the emergency supplemental funding request. However, the request has stalled as Republicans demand more restrictions on asylum and the government’s use of parole to prevent the release of illegal immigrants into the interior of the U.S.
Joint Efforts and Controversial Discussions
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently met with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a bilateral meeting. The joint statement issued after the meeting emphasized the commitment to “orderly, humane and regular migration” and highlighted efforts to address the root causes of migration, disrupt human smuggling, and promote private investment in the region. Nevertheless, the statement also mentioned discussions on the “benefits” of granting some form of legal status to undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., including those protected by the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order.
Criticism and Calls for Action
Republicans swiftly criticized the discussions about granting legal status, arguing that it would only exacerbate the crisis at the border. House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed his concerns, stating that the United States should focus on policies that deter illegal immigration rather than attracting more individuals. Republicans are urging President Biden to address the ongoing humanitarian disaster and national security crisis by taking immediate action to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the country.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.