The Border Patrol is on track to nab 1.4 million illegal immigrants attempting to jump the border this year, according to the man who ran the Border Patrol in the Obama years then ran Customs and Border Protection during the Trump era.
Mark Morgan, speaking to reporters in Texas on Tuesday, flatly rejected President Biden’s claim last week that the current surge is nothing new and happens “every year.”
And he accused the Biden team of trying to hide the extent of the border mayhem, saying 150,000 illegal immigrants will be nabbed this month alone, compared to less than 35,000 in March last year.
Some of those migrants are being kicked out immediately under emergency pandemic policies, but thousands are being admitted and released into communities to disappear into the shadows.
He said a conservative estimate is that 45,000 migrants have already been released into the U.S. since the start of the Biden administration, and he predicted those successes will entice more people to make the attempt.
“Don’t tell me that our borders are closed,” said Mr. Morgan, who is now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
He was speaking alongside Republican members of Congress, who were in southern Texas to tour the border and demand changes from the Biden administration.
Also present was Tom Homan, who ran U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Trump administration and is now affiliated with the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
Mr. Homan said to call the migrants asylum-seekers is misdirection.
Only about one in 10 migrants from Central America will win asylum. The rest lose their cases or never bother to show up in the first place, having burrowed into communities with little chance of being rousted and deported.
“They’re not going anywhere,” Mr. Homan predicted.
“This is by design,” he added. “This isn’t incompetence. This isn’t [that] they don’t know what they’re doing.”
If Mr. Morgan’s projection of 1.4 million apprehensions is correct, it would be more than any year since 2000, when the Border Patrol recorded 1.6 million apprehensions at the southwestern border.
The last time the number topped a million was 2006.
The modern low was about 300,000 apprehensions in 2017, when arrests plummeted during the first year of former President Donald Trump.
In 2019, when Mr. Trump faced his own surge, the Border Patrol made more than 850,000 arrests.