- The Washington Times
Monday, April 18, 2022

Homeland Security apprehended nearly 90,000 illegal immigrants in March who came from beyond the traditional sending countries of Mexico and northern Central America, shattering previous records and signaling America’s border crisis has gone global.

Cubans led the way, with more than 32,000 of them caught by Customs and Border Protection agents and officers at the southern border. Colombia tallied more than 15,000 people.

March also saw a massive spike in the number of Mexicans rushing the border, with CBP tallying nearly 90,000 encounters along the border — by far the highest number in years.

Meanwhile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the countries on which the Biden administration has focused as migration problems, have plummeted from their high of nearly 95,000 last July to just 45,805 in March.

Overall, CBP reported nabbing 221,303 unauthorized migrants at the U.S.-Mexico boundary in March.

Of those, nearly 210,000 were caught by the Border Patrol, marking the worst month since March 2000, when agents caught 220,000 people.

Over the last 12 months, the Border Patrol has tallied more than 2.1 million apprehensions, marking an all-time record.

CBP expects to top even that number soon enough.

Commissioner Chris Magnus said things will get worse when the Biden administration ends the Title 42 pandemic border shutdown later next month.

But he said Homeland Security is ready to deliver a fair and welcoming hand to the flood of illegal immigrants.

“CBP is surging personnel and resources to the border, increasing processing capacity, securing more ground and air transportation, and increasing medical supplies, food, water, and other resources to ensure a humane environment for those being processed,” he said.

The numbers will grow worse because the incentives are about to change, experts said.

For the last two years, CBP has immediately expelled many of the illegal immigrants it encountered through the Title 42 pandemic policy. When that goes away, many of those migrants will be allowed to stay and make claims of a need for protection, which analysts said will invite still more people to make the trip.

In March, CBP averaged about 7,000 encounters a day. Homeland Security says its moderate projection for coming months is 12,000, and its worst-case plans call for as many as 18,000 people a day to storm the southern border.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already said it expects to release 600,000 of them into communities over the next five years, and CBP is likely to add hundreds of thousands more releases to that.

And they are increasingly coming from far beyond America’s closest neighbors.

People from India, who just a couple years ago totaled in the double digits, have topped 1,000 each month since December.

The 15,144 Colombians marked a major shift, too. That’s an 84-fold increase over March 2021, when just 179 Colombians were nabbed at the U.S.-Mexico border.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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