Criminal JusticeFederalImmigration & BorderIssuesIllegal Crossings Exceeded 212,000 in July, Setting the Stage for Terrorism Concerns

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan exacerbates fears that the southern border could be breached by terrorists.
August 20, 2021
In its monthly operational update, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported last week that there were 212,672 enforcement encounters in July with single adult illegal aliens, family units, and unaccompanied minors.

The agency reported the figure, which breaks a 21-year record, the same week a federal judge in Amarillo ruled that the Biden administration must reimplement the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy, which was designed in part to deter illegal immigration.

CBP is continuing to emphasize, however, that not all of these encounters are with different people. There were 154,288 unique encounters, which means many of those people are crossing multiple times. 27 percent of the total number of enforcement encounters were with someone “who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months.”

The agency reported a majority of these people were single adults and more than 45 percent were expelled under Title 42, the special immigration rules implemented to protect the public from COVID-19.

From June to July, there was a 24 percent increase in the apprehension of unaccompanied minors, and CBP reported it had an average of 1,363 children in its custody daily in July as opposed to 794 in June.

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The total number of enforcement actions against illegal aliens since the beginning of this fiscal year has reached 1,276,194, according to statistics current as of August 4. However, CBP noted in its operational update that 845,307 apprehended so far this fiscal year have been “unique individuals.”

In terms of Texas-specific numbers, there were 146,302 enforcement encounters reported in the August 4 sector-by-sector breakdown. That figure was composed of 69,266 single adults, 15,267 unaccompanied children, and 61,769 family unit apprehensions.

“The vast majority of single adults and many families continue to be expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 authority, and those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain are placed in expedited removal proceedings,” CBP wrote in its press release detailing the update.

“CBP has also adapted to changing dynamics between ports of entry along the Southwest Border, continuing to take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by expelling roughly half of those encountered under CDC’s Title 42 public health authority.”

The extraordinary numbers also backdrop existing concerns over terrorism and other criminal activity that have only been exacerbated by the Taliban’s overthrow of the Afghan government. Some fear that Afghanistan could once again become a hotbed for Al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations.

On Monday, the Washington Examiner reported that it obtained a video in which CBP’s former Chief Rodney Scott, who left the agency August 14, gave a grim assessment to border patrol agents before he left of the risk of terrorists infiltrating the southern border.

“Over and over again, I see other people talk about our mission, your mission, and the context of it being immigration or the current crisis today being an immigration crisis,” Scott said, according to the Examiner.

Referencing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Screening Database, he said, “I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.”


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."