Similar to January, enforcement encounters in Texas during February constituted about two-thirds of the total number for the southwest border patrol region. There were around 97,000 apprehensions in the southwest region total, approximately 64,000 of which were in Texas.
The sharpest increase was in the Rio Grande Valley, where illegal alien family unit apprehensions shot up by 444 percent, from just under 2,000 in January to well over 10,000 in February.
Ironically, they decreased in the Laredo sector by 17 percent from 192 to 160, but that was the only area that saw a drop in illegal alien family unit apprehensions. All other sectors saw increases between 46 percent and 105 percent.
In the Rio Grande Valley, enforcement encounters with unaccompanied minors exceeded 3,900 in February, an 86 percent increase from about 2,100 in January.
Notably, enforcement encounters with single adults barely budged. There was a less than two percent increase from January to February, about 41,000 single adults were apprehended in each month.
Total enforcement encounters in Texas were up by 27 percent from January to February.
Troy Miller, a CBP senior official performing the duties of the commissioner, said in a press release that the federal government will continue to “strictly enforce” immigration law.
“Those who attempt to cross the border without going through ports of entry should understand that they are putting themselves and their families in danger, especially during the pandemic,” Miller said. “Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the border is not open, and the vast majority of people are being returned under Title 42. Do not believe smugglers or others claiming otherwise.”
The agency said that 23 percent of CBP personnel have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and that CBP is “collaborating with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the delivery of vaccinations to personnel.”
Gov. Greg Abbott criticized President Biden this week for failing to prioritize CBP agents the same as other federal employees.
CBP emphasized that the upward trend of enforcement encounters began in April of last year, though recently both Republicans and Democrats have said publicly that the spike in recent weeks is profoundly concerning.
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15) urgently requested to meet with Biden, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Norris Cochran.
The State of Texas sent reinforcements this week to mitigate the border crisis. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox News that an additional 500 Texas National Guard service members and 1,000 Texas Department of Public Safety officers are in the field to help with border enforcement.
“What they need to do is close the border. It’s wide open,” Patrick said, adding that the situation now is the “worst” he’s seen with “no end in sight.”
When asked about remarks by President Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, who said the current administration “inherited a real mess,” Patrick said it was “B.S.”
“They must have legalized marijuana in the White House and they’re all smoking it, because these people are clueless,” Patrick said.
CBP figures are current as of the time of publishing.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.