National Security

Border Patrol head expects record-breaking surge of migrants at US-Mexico border

The head of U.S. Border Patrol says a record-breaking number of migrants is expected at the southern border this spring, estimating as many as 8,000 people could be apprehended daily.

Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz told CNN that 7,000 to 8,000 migrants a day could soon “become the norm.” Ortiz brought on 350 additional agents to assist at the border and another 150 to help with processing remotely.

Ortiz estimated that facilities on the border are already over capacity with more than 16,000 migrants in detention.

“We’re managing a flow that’s significant,” he told CNN, saying the expected surge is “going to put additional strain” on border officials and facilities.

Border encounters with migrants climbed to 164,973 in February, up from about 154,000 in January but down from surges in November and December, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A greater surge this spring and summer is likely because of the expected withdrawal of Title 42, a Trump-era policy kept in place by President Biden. The policy allows the administration to expel migrants under a public health emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewing the policy through March 30, a letter spearheaded by Sen. Rick Scott (F-Fla.) and signed by more than a dozen GOP senators questioned how the administration is preparing for the expected influx.

“This is a grave concern that threatens to overwhelm our already strained immigration system and will only exacerbate a disastrous situation at our southern border,” the letter reads.

Also on Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlined a new rule to streamline the asylum process, which the administration says will reduce backlogs and cut the process down from several years to just months.

DHS also created the Southwest Border Coordination Center, an operations room to coordinate interagency response, to help prepare for the influx of migrants, according to Axios.

Last year, when President Biden took office after four years of a tough-on-immigration presidency from former President Trump, border officials encountered more than 1.7 million migrants, the highest on record.

Tags Border. migrants Customs and Border Patrol Donald Trump Illegal immigration to the United States Immigration immigration policy Immigration policy of Donald Trump Joe Biden Mexico–United States border crisis Raul Ortiz Rick Scott

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