On Tuesday, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz stated that the U.S. is on track to record one million encounters in the Fiscal Year 2022, which shows that the continuous migrant influx is already outpacing the record numbers in 2021.
“Probably in the next two or three days we’ll get over a million encounters or apprehensions along the southwest border,” Ortiz mentioned during a border security conference in San Antonio, Texas. The 2022 fiscal year began in October.
Ortiz said the situation at the southern border, where Border Patrol is short-staffed, faces more challenges because of the ongoing COVID-10 pandemic and where “every sector is busier than they were back in ‘21.” Ortiz also mentioned that the agents have encountered immigrants from 157 different countries. This indicates the global character of the U.S. southern border crisis.
Encounters Projected To Reach 1 Million in March
Back in February, Border Patrol recorded 164,973 encounters, which is dramatically higher than the figure recorded in the same month last year, which was at 101,099. The February 2022 numbers indicated that 838,685 encounters have been recorded since the start of the fiscal year. As of writing, the numbers for March have not been released yet, but they are expected to be higher than February’s, which is on track to bring the number of encounters for FY2022 to over one million, with over half a year to go before it ends.
In FY 2021, Border Patrol has recorded over 1.7 million migrant encounters, with the majority recorded during the second half.
These numbers overwhelmed agents and resulted in the introduction of new methods that allowed the quicker release of migrants into the country. With this, GOP members have put the blame on Pres. Joe Biden’s administration for rolling back on Trump-era measures that had been implemented at the border. Instead, the current administration favored a method that focuses on “root causes” such as poverty and violence in Central America.