The southwest border during President Joe Biden’s first year in office reached historic levels of illegal crossings, pulling agents off the front line and leaving large swaths of the border unpatrolled. Drugs, especially fentanyl, flowed in, and overdose deaths are at an all-time high.
“What we’re experiencing now on the southwest border is a complete, utter catastrophe,” Mark Morgan, former acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which oversees Border Patrol, told The Epoch Times on Jan. 7.
“We have lost control of the southwest border.”
During the 2021 calendar year, Border Patrol agents apprehended close to 2 million illegal immigrants from 150 different countries along the southwest border—more than double 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, according to CBP data.
Last year, Border Patrol agents detected, but didn’t catch, an additional 600,000 illegal border crossers, known as “gotaways,” Morgan said.
“That’s the equivalent to the size of the state of Vermont,” he said. “Think about the bad people that are in that 600,000 that got away.”
Mexican nationals made up 28 percent of encounters in fiscal year 2021, the lowest proportion in recorded history, according to CBP.
The northern triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador made up 44 percent, and the remaining 28 percent were from other countries—double the previous record for the latter demographic.
“This trend is important because the Department of Homeland Security does not currently have agreements to electronically verify nationality with these different countries of origin, making removing or expelling their nationals more resource-intensive and time-consuming,” CBP stated in a press release on Jan. 3.
Outside of Mexico and the Northern Triangle nations, the countries accounting for the largest number of encounters in fiscal year 2021 were Ecuador, Brazil, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti, and Cuba, CBP said.
On the Mexico side of the border, across the Rio Grande in Texas, hundreds of discarded passports, visas, and identification papers can be found every day. Illegal aliens are told it’s harder to be deported from the United States without papers.