Troy Miller, the senior official performing the duties of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), told reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday the border "is not open" and went on to detail the increase in illegal immigrants being apprehended for the month of February.
"The border is not open. Do not believe the human smugglers who will try to tell you otherwise and put the vulnerable population at risk," Miller said.
In February, CBP apprehended 100,441 illegal immigrants trying to enter the United States along the southwest border, a 28 percent increase over January 2021. CBP completed 72,113 expulsions from the border under the CDC's guidance for Title 42 authority.
Of the 100,441 individuals, 29,792 were unaccompanied children and single minors, with 2,942 of these children being under the age of 12 years old and 26,850 are aged 13-17 years old.
"[Department of Homeland Security] has continued its close coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as it increases its capacity to care for unaccompanied children and place them with sponsors. Our goal is to ensure that CBP has the continued capability to efficiently transfer unaccompanied children to HHS as quickly as possible, consistent with legal requirements and the best interest of the children," CBP said in a statement.
When asked what he thought was causing the surge, Miller pointed poor economic factors in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and a hurricane that swept through the region.
The dramatic increase in attempted crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border in just a few months of the Biden administration has been met with heavy criticisms due to the current administration not calling it a crisis. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has instead called the ongoing situation a "challenge."
"The facts don’t lie: President Biden has created a crisis at the southern border. On day one of his presidency, President Biden rolled back several of the former administration’s deterrence-focused policies and proposed amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. In the following days, President Biden has only built on his anti-enforcement and border disorder agenda. President Biden’s actions have signaled to the world that our immigration laws can be violated with little, if any, consequence," House Oversight and Reform Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) said in a statement in reaction to CBP's report.
"As a result, there is now a surge of illegal immigration at the border and an increasing number of families bringing their children on the dangerous journey to the United States. President Biden created this crisis and he has the ability to end it by following President Trump’s lead rather than his radical open borders agenda."