U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) took into custody more than 144,278 migrants along the southwest border in May, the highest total in 13 years.
It marked a 32 percent increase over April when 109,474 were taken into custody. This year over 530,000 have already been apprehended, and the United States is on pace to place into custody over 1 million migrants.
Last week CBP apprehended a group of more than 1,000 migrants, the largest ever. “The apprehension of 1,036 individuals in a single group – the largest group ever encountered by Border Patrol agents – demonstrates the severity of the border security and humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border,” CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez said. “The dedicated men and women of CBP, and in particular the U.S Border Patrol, are doing their very best every day to address the influx of family units and unaccompanied children.” They were from Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador. Most of the group, 934, were families.
The Republicans on the committee say 50 percent of CBP officers are pulled off the line each day to process and care for migrants — up from 40 percent last month.
Committee Republicans say funding to care for unaccompanied children is on track to run out within the next month. If that occurs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would have to divert funding to provide minimum standards of care. Also, CBP is on track to run out of funding by August 1.
Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security approved $13.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – $1.1 billion below the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $4.3 billion below President Trump’s request. It’s part of $63.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security, $2.2 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $1.9 billion below Trump’s request.
“I am proud of the Homeland Security funding bill we have written,” House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairwoman Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said. “The bill supports the broad array of homeland security missions, from protecting air travel and our territorial waters, to helping state and local governments prepare for terrorism threats and disasters, to securing our cybersecurity systems and physical infrastructure. It also takes a balanced approach to border security and immigration enforcement, including new efforts to protect the dignity and safety of every person in U.S. government custody.”
The funding package includes $151 million for 1,846 new positions, including 1,200 CBP Officers, 406 mission support personnel, and 240 agriculture specialists. It also includes $242 million for new technology, including $105 million for border security technology; $20 million for port of entry technology; $30 million for trade enforcement enhancements; and $30 million for a third Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft.
It provides no funding for additional Border Patrol Agents, Border Patrol checkpoints, or border barriers. It also rescinds $601 million from the fiscal year 2019 Procurement, Construction, and Improvements account, equal to the amount the Administration announced would be used from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund for border barrier construction.
“The bill provides necessary funding increases to protect the traveling public, defend our nation’s infrastructure from physical and rising cyber threats, secure our borders and ports of entry with new technologies, and ensure that communities have adequate resources to support local emergency personnel and enhance their preparedness capabilities,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said. “Just as important, the bill protects our nation and the American people in a way that upholds our values as Americans. This includes upholding the rights and dignity of migrants, protecting against attempts by the Trump administration to steal funds from measures that actually keep us safe for a vanity border wall, and providing no funding for additional Border Patrol agents and checkpoints or border barriers.”