Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, on Wednesday posted images showing the release of adult migrants into the interior of the United States by Border Patrol, as officials deal with overcrowded facilities amid continued migrant traffic at the southern border.
“This morning, with facilities in the area over capacity, Border Patrol was forced to release a group of migrants into the city of Uvalde,” Gonzales tweeted. “The neighboring town of Carrizo Springs has had to do the same.”
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“This is the consequence of a broken immigration system and failed policies,” he said.
Gonzales had been contacted by officials in Uvalde notifying him that facilities in the area were overcrowded and that Border Patrol would be forced to release migrants as a result.
Similarly, the city of Carrizo Springs announced that the federal government had instructed Border Patrol to start releasing individuals “due to the facility having no vacancy due to the high volume of migrants.” It said that migrants would typically be released in Eagle Pass.
“After being processed here in Carrizo Springs the migrant is issued a document that states he or she has gone through the processing stage and will provide proof to any law enforcement official,” the statement said, noting that migrants had also gone through background and criminal checks.
While releases of migrants into the interior due to overcrowding is something that took place to varying degrees in prior years, including under the Trump administration, the images come amid continued high migrant traffic — and fears that a new surge in the spring and summer months could again overwhelm border authorities.
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There were 164,973 migrant encounters in February, compared to 101,099 encounters in February last year, a month that preceded a massive surge in numbers in the spring and summer months that overwhelmed Border Patrol. In February 2020, there were just 36,687 encounters.
Numbers decreased in 2021 over the winter months since the highs of August but remained high compared to prior years. There were 153,941 migrant encounters in January 2022 compared to 78,414 migrant encounters in January 2021. February saw a 7% increase over January’s numbers.
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So far in fiscal year 2022, which began in October, there have been 838,685 migrant encounters. In all of FY 2021 there were 1.7 million. In FY 2020, there were 458,088 encounters.
There are already signs those numbers are creating problems for the administration. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put out a call last week for employees to volunteer at the border, almost a year after the DHS Volunteer Force was reactivated last year ahead of the 2021 migrant surge.
Meanwhile, there are multiple reports that the Biden administration is gearing up for a potentially massive migrant surge if it ends Title 42 border protections in the coming months. Title 42 was used to expel about half of the migrants encountered in February.