As expected, it's getting worse. Axios reported weeks ago that Border officials were projecting as many as 13,000 unaccompanied minors would flood into the United States (recall that the border is "closed," according to Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas) within the month of May. It looks like the crisis is running well ahead of schedule, as more than 11,000 illegal immigrant children were detained by Border Patrol in the first three weeks of March alone, easily exceeding the total from the entirety of February. CNN reports:
The US Border Patrol has detained more than 11,000 unaccompanied migrant children between February 28 to March 20, according to preliminary government data reviewed by CNN, already eclipsing the number of minors apprehended in the full month of February. In recent weeks, the number of encounters of children crossing the US-Mexico border alone has continued to climb, overwhelming the government's resources that had already been under strain because of the coronavirus pandemic. In all of February, Border Patrol apprehended nearly 9,300 unaccompanied children at the US southern border, up from around 5,600 in January.
Quite the trajectory. The number was less than 800 last April. It began to tick up over the course of several months, then started to increase more sharply as President Trump's term came to an end. Once Biden became president, the problem has exploded. From 5,600 during inauguration month, to 9,300 in the shortest month of the year, to well over 11,000 (with a week still left to go) in March. More:
The number of detentions will also likely surpass, according to the preliminary data, the high during May 2019 when around 11,400 unaccompanied children were arrested on the US-Mexico border...While the growing number of children is a pressing challenge for the administration, kids crossing the border alone still make up the minority of encounters, the preliminary data reveals. Between February 28 and March 20, Border Patrol apprehended more than 60,000 single adults and more than 32,000 families, according to the data.
It's virtually a lock that March 2021 will blow the previous high -- during the teeth of the Trump-era crisis -- out of the water, with the curve still pointing in the wrong direction. It's almost as if top US government officials explicitly stating that the government will welcome and care for unaccompanied illegal immigrant children is influencing people's decisions and actions. Mayorkas asserts that these things are entirely unconnected, of course, and are in fact Donald Trump's fault. His evidence to support this claim is beyond weak. This crisis is obviously fueled by the Biden administration's policies and rhetoric, and to pretend otherwise is unserious. Note also that the large majority of illegal entry apprehensions have been of single adults -- to say nothing of the untold numbers of "got-aways," of which there are thousands. It's almost as if the new president trying to pause all deportations, and his administration announcing a cessation of deportations against illegal immigrants convicted of additional classes of crimes, might impact how people perceive the country's seriousness about enforcement. Indeed, illegal immigrants are openly telling reporters that Biden's new approach contributed to their decision to cross the border. This is a spiral -- on substance and credibility:
The short version of the @axios story appears to be: If Secretary Mayorkas says it, don't believe it. 'Scoop: Biden administration expelled just 13% of migrant families in past week.' https://t.co/cpx7nddheM— Byron York (@ByronYork) March 23, 2021
ABC News: "Internal CBP documents obtained by ABC News show there are now 3,889 migrants in the Donna facility that is meant to hold just 250. That means it is currently at 1,556% capacity." https://t.co/vrXLhkohcj— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 23, 2021
As Katie flagged yesterday, now seems like a good time to flash back to this amusing expression of umbrage from the White House:
“I’m sure you’re not suggesting that we have children right next to each other in ways that are not COVID safe, are you?” -White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki February 23, 2021 https://t.co/MTgSFhJsCi— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) March 23, 2021
Yeah, about that. I'll leave you with with one of the sad scribblers at Media Matters trying to scold mainstream media outlets for being suckered by the right-wing lie that, er, a border crisis is underway. Hilarious propaganda from a depressing outfit:
The "border crisis" narrative has spread from rightwing orgs, politicians, and propagandists to mainstream outlets. It doesn't add up. https://t.co/ZXgXBdODDo— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) March 22, 2021
If you're trying to wish away an inconvenient story for your political team, irrespective of the facts, it has to be demoralizing when members of your team -- mainstream journalists very much included -- are confirming said story because they have eyes and ears. My response to the "border crisis" scare quotes was to cite one sentence from a recent Washington Post story: "Federal agents have taken into custody more than 70,000 migrants a month for each of the past four months, the most for that period in at least 10 years." As noted above that number has only grown. This conspiracy runs so deep that the statistics, and even illegal immigrants themselves, are in on it. Insidious collusion, no doubt. Oh, and all of this was not only predictable. It was predicted:
Flashback from Late November: "Trump officials warn of new border surge if Biden reverses immigration policies." ??— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 21, 2021
They were explicitly warned, they knew it was coming, then they created the crisis anyway & are trying to blame it on the last guys.https://t.co/pEwPAgUn3h