EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is questioning the accuracy of Biden administration data showing the steepest drop in unauthorized migration in three months.
Mark Morgan says he’s been told by sources in the U.S. Border Patrol that 8,000 Haitians who illegally crossed into the United States at Del Rio, Texas but went back to Mexico were not included in CBP’s October report.
“Sources tell me that, since Border Patrol did not technically ‘apprehend’ them, they won’t be included in the October numbers. Second, illegal aliens apprehended by the Texas Department of Public Safety, then processed on state charges, are also not included in CBP’s monthly totals. This number could be in the thousands,” Morgan said on Wednesday.
Some of the thousands of Haitians at the Del Rio camp left after learning they might be flown back to their country and others faced a controversial horse patrol blockade and a wall of Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles just north of the Rio Grande levee. The exact number was up for debate. However, new reports show the last remaining migrants departed the makeshift camp in Del Rio on the morning of September 24.
Earlier this week, CBP reported that migrant encounters at the Southwest border dropped for the third consecutive month. The agency said it “encountered” 164,303 migrants in October, a 14 percent decrease over September’s 192,001 apprehensions. That followed a 2 percent drop in August, when the agency reported 208,887 encounters.
According to the Wall Street Journal, as of Nov. 8, some 1,500 people have been arrested in Texas as part of Gov. Greg Aboot’s Operation Lone Star, which sent DPS troopers and the Texas National Guard to “high-threat” areas along the border starting in March. Three percent of those arrested have been convicted of trespassing.
“It’s important the American people understand what these new numbers say and what they don’t,” said Morgan, now a visiting fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. The October numbers “clearly show that the Biden border crisis is in full swing and remains historically catastrophic. More than 164,000 apprehensions is a devastating number – 20,000 higher than the worst single month of the 2019 crisis.”
Border Report reached out to CBP and the Department of Homeland Security for comment on Wednesday morning and is awaiting a response to Morgan’s statements.
Meantime, advocates said they’re not surprised that those who look down on migrants are reeling from the recent steep declines.
“We have extremist voices that want to paint a picture of open borders. The reality is that the border is not open. Most persons detained are being expelled. Migrants are dying while crossing the border in dangerous places to avoid detention,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights. “When the numbers come out and say that migration is down, of course, that affects the false and distorted narrative that the border is always in crisis and that the U.S. is being invaded.”
Former acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says unauthorized migration remains at unprecedented levels despite the monthly fluctuations.
“Since President Biden took office, apprehensions at the border have totaled more than 100,000 every single month. His border security strategy has failed. It’s time for the president, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the rest of the leadership at DHS to admit that failure and change course,” said Wolf, also a visiting fellow at Heritage Foundation. “This is what catch-and-release looks like.”