Exclusive: Biden’s Migrant Detention Facilities Exceed Capacity as Border Crossings Increase — Again

Migrants packed into an overcrowded soft-sided detention facility. (File Photo: U.S. Custo
File Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Border Patrol is again facing overcrowding issues in several migrant detention facilities along the southwest border, according to a source within Customs and Border Protection. The source says the return of increasing numbers of large migrant group crossings is spurred by migrants’ frustration with the functionality of the CBP-One application. Daily migrant detention numbers exceeded 17,000 in recent weeks according to the source.

The source, not authorized to speak to the media, says daily migrant apprehension numbers peaked at nearly 6,000 per day during the week. At one Border Patrol facility near Eagle Pass, Texas, once the epicenter of the current border crisis, more than 2,000 migrants are being held. The temporary detention facility at this location is designed to hold 1,000 migrants, the source indicated.

On Friday, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez reported more than 1,000 migrants were apprehended near La Grulla, Texas, in a single 24-hour period. During the first three days of August, RGV agents apprehended nearly 4,400 migrants, according to a law enforcement source.

On Wednesday, Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin of the Tucson Sector reported the apprehension of several large migrant groups encountered near Lukeville, Arizona over the previous weekend. The largest single group consisted of 533 migrants from 17 different countries. Tucson Sector agents apprehended 5,061 migrants during the first three days of August, a law enforcement source reported.

The CBP source told Breitbart Texas that migrant apprehensions in July stood at slightly more than 132,000, up from the 99,545 migrant apprehensions made along the southwest border in June, a 33% increase. During the first four days of August, agents in the nine southwest border sectors apprehended more than 17,000 migrants, the law enforcement report indicates.

The source says many of the migrants in detention cited frustration not being able to quickly acquire an appointment for admission under the Biden Administration’s CBP-One application as the reason for crossing between the ports of entry. The migrants in detention cannot be processed fast enough to avoid overcrowding, the source added.

Thousands of mostly single adult migrants from the Northern Triangle Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are lingering in overcrowded detention centers as ICE Air cannot remove the migrants fast enough to ease the overcrowding, the source explained.

Nationals of these three countries were rapidly expelled to Mexico under the CDC Title 42 authority that expired in May. President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), also known as the Remain in Mexico policy, provided quick relief as Northern Triangle migrants could be quickly expelled to Mexico. These two Trump-era programs are no longer an option to stave off overcrowding.

Between October and June, more than 294,000 migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador were arrested by the Border Patrol after entering between ports of entry. Of that total, more than 286,000 were single adult males.

According to CBP, the daily average in June was nearly 1,000 migrant arrests of nationals from these three countries alone. The source says the pace of Northern Triangle migrant arrests overshadows the agency’s ability to keep up through removal flights.

“ICE Air can move up to 500 migrants per day to Central America, so long as there are no flight cancellations,” the source told Breitbart Texas. “That means hundreds will be detained for the next round of flights. With apprehensions starting to surge again, the overcrowding will only worsen.”

Aviation tracking software shows two ICE Air flights were destined for Guatemala and two others headed for El Salvador on Friday. The repatriation flights are conducted by Swift Air LLC, part of the iAero group, a private company under contract to ICE to transport migrants within the United States and conduct international repatriation flights.

The Swift Air fleet consists mostly of Boeing 737s — some capable of carrying up to 162 passengers.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

Bob Price contributed to this report.


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