The number of illegal migrants in Border Patrol custody nationwide surpassed 22,000 on Tuesday evening, according to internal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Border Patrol across all sectors had almost 17,000 illegal migrants in custody on the evening of August 10 compared to 7,696 on the evening of June 8, according to internal CBP data previously obtained by the DCNF. Additionally, there were 8,923 migrant encounters by CBP on Monday and 7,730 illegal migrants released into the country, according to the new data.
As of Tuesday, nine Border Patrol sectors were over capacity, including the Del Río sector in Texas, which was 280% over capacity, according to the data.
Border Patrol agents have seen trainings and other important event cancellations, along with an increase in virtual processing, leaving large swaths of the southern border unmanned due to a renewed surge in illegal immigration, multiple agents told the DCNF.
Multiple agents stationed in El Paso, Texas, where a surge in illegal migrants are crossing, have been instructed that firearms qualifications, use of force training, suicide awareness training, recruiting events and physical fitness programs are paused for two weeks “due to the unprecedented migrant surge,” one text notification sent to agents read, which three Border Patrol agents, who requested anonymity because they’re not authorized to speak publicly, verified was true.
Border Patrol has also been expanding its use of virtual processing among several areas of the southern border, the northern border and coastal border, where agents in one sector will meet with illegal migrants on video call in another sector that is undermanned, multiple agents said.
Democratic El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said Saturday that the city is at its “breaking point,” while Democratic Eagle Pass Mayor declared a state of emergency in recent days over the arrival of a few thousand migrants that arrived illegally.
“I am currently processing for Del Rio/Eagle Pass. I started last month,” an agent stationed along the northern border said.
“Our duties now revolve around virtual processing and the facilitation of the inflow of illegal migration into the United States. The scenario unfolds with agents stationed at their respective posts, immersed in virtual paperwork, striving to cope with the overwhelming surge of illegal migrants, far outpacing our capacity to process them efficiently. This has rendered our border exposed and vulnerable,” a second agent said.
Border Patrol has recorded more than 1.8 million illegal crossings at the southern border between October 2022 and August, according to federal data. In fiscal year 2022, the number of illegal crossings hit a record 2.2 million. In August alone, Border Patrol saw more than 181,000 illegal crossings in the region.
The issue has frustrated agents, who say that they’re not doing the job of securing the border anymore because most of the migrants who they encounter crossing illegally are released into the interior of the country.
“We are upset because what they are making us do is break our oath we pledged. They have taken our job and made it a joke. We have endangered the country in so many ways. We must sleep at night knowing we are the reason this nation is in trouble,” a third agent said.
“In my extensive 13-year tenure, I find myself grappling with a reality I never envisaged. Our current circumstances defy logic; established policies, our solemn oaths, and the very essence of our professional calling have been eroded. Instead, we find ourselves relegated to mere affirmations from higher authorities, commending our efforts. The days of border patrol, the pursuit of illicit substances—what we colloquially term ‘dope’—have yielded to a role resembling that of caretakers,” the second agent added.
CBP didn’t respond immediately to requests for comment.
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