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FIRST ON FOX: Border Patrol agents are seeing a significant increase in migrant smuggling all along the southern border, with one area of Arizona seeing a massive 579% increase in the last fiscal year.
Border Patrol in Yuma Sector has seen 154,116 migrant encounters so far during the exercise, which began in October. That’s a 579% increase from the same time last year, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Fox News.
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Meanwhile, in the Del Rio sector, site of the Haitian migrant crisis in September, officers there have seen a 179% increase in encounters – 198,482 migrants so far this fiscal year.
Other sectors saw less aggressive increases, the data showed. The Rio Grande Valley saw a 50% increase, the El Paso area saw a 57% increase, Tucson saw a 52% increase – while the Laredo area saw a 1% decrease.
The information follows what Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said earlier this week when he told a border security conference that “every sector is busier than it was in 21”. There, he said the United States was on track to hit one million fixtures in the first six months of the fiscal year.
Meanwhile, multiple sources told Fox News there were more than 8,000 encounters with migrants on Friday, an increase from the recent average of 7,000 officers per day.
Those numbers are expected to rise with the Biden administration’s Friday announcement that it intends to end the use of the Title 42 public health order in May. This order was used to quickly expel more than half of the migrants encountered at the border.
Republicans, Democrats and administration officials said they expected the move to increase the number of people hitting the border, raising concerns that a surge could easily dwarf the massive numbers from last year.
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The Biden administration has said it has a plan in place to deal with the influx.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday that DHS has “implemented a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to manage any potential increase in the number of migrants encountered at our border.”
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“We are increasing our capacity to process new arrivals, assess asylum claims and rapidly deport those not eligible for protection,” he said in a statement. “We will increase staff and resources as needed and have already redeployed over 600 border law enforcement officers. We are referring smugglers and some border residents to criminal prosecution. put in place additional and appropriate COVID-19 protocols, including scaling up our vaccination program.”
But Border Patrol agents have expressed skepticism about their ability to prepare for what DHS has estimated to be potentially up to 18,000 migrants a day, even though they are already overwhelmed and overcrowded by the number already at hand. the border.
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“If there is a strategy in place, we haven’t seen it, it hasn’t been broadcast to us and there’s no way to prepare in a month and a half for what is expected to be a massive crisis. illegal immigration,” Brandon said. Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, told Fox News Digital this week. “The only thing this administration is going to be able to do is just release people on a massive scale, that’s all, that’s all they can do.”