- The Washington Times - Friday, December 17, 2021

The Biden administration oversaw the worst November on record for illegal border activity, with Customs and Border Protection recording nearly 174,000 encounters with illegal immigrants.

That’s more than twice what was recorded in November 2020 and more than five times the rate from November 2019, both of which were under President Trump.

November’s numbers also showed an uptick of 5% compared to October. Usually, illegal border crossings decline at that point, as the cold weather and holiday season begin to tamp down on activity.

CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus, who was just sworn in for the job this month, said his employees are working hard, but he offered no solutions to the Biden border surge.

“CBP’s vigilance is key to disrupting smugglers and transnational criminal organizations as they exploit vulnerable populations and attempt to traffic illegal and dangerous products,” the new commissioner said.

The agency said the massive border numbers don’t reflect all that’s going on.

Thanks to a coronavirus pandemic border shutdown, many of the illegal border crossers are being pushed back into Mexico. Many of those immediately try again — and are caught again.

Out of the 173,620 total encounters CBP made with unauthorized migrants, they covered 127,653 “unique individuals.” That’s still 10% higher than October, indicating the numbers, while not as bad as the late summer months, are trending the wrong way.

Even more worrisome for the government is the situation with illegal immigrant children. CBP nabbed 13,959 unaccompanied juveniles in November, up from 12,783 in October. And they languished longer. On an average day, CBP had 962 unaccompanied juveniles in custody, compared to 595 per day in October.

Nearly 1.7 million unauthorized migrants have been nabbed storming the border since Feb. 1. That’s a record pace.

As things were ramping up in the spring President Biden insisted the numbers were seasonal, and happened every year.

Mr. Biden still has not been to the border during his presidency, defying calls by Republicans who say he really needs a first-hand look to see what his policies have wrought.

“Normally, unlawful migration would be decreasing over the colder winter months, instead we continue to see surging, record-breaking levels of encounters at the border,” said Sen. Rob Portman, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

About half of the encounters in November resulted in people being expelled under the pandemic border shutdown. The rest, about 86,000, were processed and either released at the border or turned over to other federal agencies, most of whom will be released. They are supposed to return for eventual deportation proceedings in immigration court.

CBP’s statistics don’t say how many people snuck by undetected in November, though the rate through much of 2021 was about 1,000 a day.

It’s not just people that are testing the border.

Drug smugglers have also ramped up their trafficking, with CBP reporting a 164% increase in methamphetamine seizures. The 42,000 pounds of meth seized is by far a record.

Cocaine seizures were up 21% and fentanyl seizures rose 7%. Heroin seizures dropped 12%.

Authorities have long believed more drugs seized means more is getting through.

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

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