More than 168,000 illegal immigrants have been released into the US this fiscal year - a number sure to surge as the border crisis worsens, according to Nathalie R. Asher, acting chief of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's deportation branch.
In Wednesday comments to Congress, Asher added that according to the results of a pilot program, 87% of released immigrants fail to show up for their court hearings, resulting in judges ordering them deported in absentia, according to the Washington Times, which adds that tracking them down has been a daunting task for officials.
Nearly 110,000 were nabbed at the southwestern border in April, including nearly 100,000 caught by the Border Patrol trying to sneak into the U.S. The other 10,000 were encountered when they showed up at ports of entry demanding to be let in, despite lacking permission. -Washington Times
"Family units are not appearing in great numbers," said Asher, who revealed the figures to Senators amid a request for more money and legal tools to try and stem the surge of illegal immigrants.
Arrests highest in 12 years
In addition to the staggering number of border crossers detained in April alone, monthly arrests have reached their highest level since 2007, according to the Washington Post.
Unauthorized border crossings have more than doubled in the past year, and they are on pace to exceed 1 million on an annual basis, as Guatemalan and Honduran families continue streaming north in record numbers with the expectation they will be quickly processed and released from custody. -Washington Post
"Our apprehension numbers are off the charts," said Border Patrol chief Carla Provost in Wednesday comments to senators in Washington. "We cannot address this crisis by shifting more resources. It’s like holding a bucket under a faucet. It doesn’t matter how many buckets we have if we can’t turn off the flow."
"My greatest concern is that we will no longer be able to deliver consequences and we will lose control of the border," she added.
Sick kids stuffed in tractor-trailer rigs
According to Fox5, Mexico authorities intercepted and detained 289 Central American migrants traveling in tractor-trailer rigs, including children with measles, chickenpox and other illnesses.
Authorities had to punch a hole in one of the freight containers to free the migrants, who had been transported from the Gulf coast state of Tabasco toward the U.S. border.
The state said Monday the migrants were given food, water and medical attention and turned over to immigration authorities. -Fox5
Back in the US, the Trump administration has attempted to crack down in illegal immigration amid constant battles with Congress over funding President Trump's long-promised border wall, although enough has still been allocated for hundreds of miles of barriers.
Along with physical measures such as the deployment of razor wire and thousands of US soldiers - White House officials have tightened the asylum claim process, making it more difficult for migrants to come to the US and be allowed to stay. Unfortunately, these measures haven't worked - given the surge in apprehensions and overcrowded ICE facilities.
DHS officials for the first time this week said the agency is running out of space to jail single adult migrants, who arrived in April at the highest level in five years. One DHS official warned of a complete border breakdown if single adults who cross illegally can no longer be detained and deported.
DHS officials already have declared a “breaking point” for U.S. border agents and infrastructure, with court rulings and a crunch of detention space forcing them to release the vast majority of migrant family members and children into the interior of the United States. Border officials view single adult migrants as the one remaining demographic they can deter by “applying consequences.” -Washington Post
One DHS official told the Post: "If we were forced to release single adults, our prediction is you would see a draw or a flow that we’ve never seen before in our history."