Vicky Arias, FISM News
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data released for the month of February revealed that over 120,000 migrants were encountered at southern Ports of Entry (POE) into the United States, as total border encounters increased by several thousand migrants.
February saw a 2% increase over January in total CBP encounters, with 212,266 total encounters in February compared to 208,511 total encounters in January.
The data shows that individuals arriving at POEs remained relatively stable from January to February, with 128,877 migrant encounters at these ports in February, compared to 128,913 POE encounters in January.
Even as POE encounters breached the 100,000 mark for the second month in a row, CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller seemed celebratory, stating that “February’s overall encounter numbers [are] nearly even with January.”
Fox News host, Trace Gallagher, on Wednesday spoke out about the immigration crisis at the southern border.
Gallagher reported that “for 26 months, millions of migrants have crossed the border and received zero consequences.”
On Wednesday, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, (R-Tenn.), held a hearing hosting the Chief of the United States Border Patrol, Raul L. Ortiz.
In his opening statement, Green described the crisis at the border.
“Most of us here today are well aware of the tragedy at the border,” Green said. “4.7 million encounters, 1.3 million gotaways, [and] we don’t know … where they are,” Green asserted.
“Drug seizures are up, individuals on the terrorist watch list are up, [and] all at record numbers,” Green continued. “In just the two years of Sec. Mayorkas’ reign at [Homeland Security], more people have come into this country than all of the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency and all four years of the Trump presidency combined.”
BORDER PATROL CHIEF CONTRADICTS MAYORKAS
During the hearing, called “Failure By Design: Examining Secretary Mayorkas’ Border Crisis,” Green questioned Ortiz about the security of the nation’s southern border.
“Does [Homeland Security] have operational control of our entire border?” Green asked.
“No, sir,” Ortiz answered.
Ortiz’s response contradicts Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ declaration that border patrol agencies do, in fact, have operational control of the southern border.
During the hearing, Ortiz was also questioned about the completion of a border wall by Republican Rep. Laurel Lee of Florida.
“Would it be accurate to say that completion of the wall, and those attendant structures, the lights, the roads … would be helpful to you and the agents who are out there in performing your job?” Lee asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Ortiz responded.
Also in attendance at the hearing was Steven Cagan, the Assistant Director for Homeland Security Investigations. Cagan explained the fentanyl-making processes to the committee and the ways in which his team investigates them.
“The vast majority of fentanyl is produced [in Mexico],” Cagan stated and explained that the majority of the “precursor” chemicals needed for the drug arrive from the Asia Pacific region of the world.
“When it comes to China, that’s the beginning of the illicit supply chain of fentanyl,” Cagan explained. “We have the visibility of precursor chemicals, as they leave Chinese ports to venture across the water into Mexico,” Cagan continued. “Eventually those precursors will end up in Mexican labs, where the actual pills are produced.”
So far this fiscal year, 128 pounds of fentanyl have been seized at nationwide border checkpoints and stopped from entering the country. However, the exact amount of the deadly drug that smugglers have managed to get across the border remains unknown.