(The Center Square) – More than 42,000 people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border evaded authorities in April, preliminary Customs and Border Protection (CPB) statistics show.
More than 177,000 people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border were apprehended by Border Patrol in the month, on top of the 42,620 who evaded apprehension, according to preliminary CBP numbers, Jaeson Jones, former captain of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said.
During February and March, those evading capture were estimated to be about 30,000 people per month – meaning they were not processed by border patrol and entered the general U.S. population. The number of people who evade capture is now closer to nearly 1,400 people a day, conservative estimates by border patrol indicate.
What these numbers “really signify is the level of infiltration coming into the country that’s getting past CBP at the border,” Jones says.
The estimate is calculated by border patrol agents who submit information on anyone they observe getting away, based on their observation of tracks or garbage left by groups, or from camera recordings.
These numbers exclude the number of illegal border-crossers who run back across the U.S.-Mexico border if they are being chased by border patrol, referred to as “turnbacks.” In April alone, border patrol counted 14,500 turnbacks.
With illegal crossings of the border comes increased human and drug trafficking, officials say. Everyday border patrol agents from border states post updates on apprehensions, arrests and smuggling activity on their websites and on social media.
On April 30, agents at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted different attempts to smuggle loads of hard narcotics with a combined street value of $4.1 million. Combined, they totaled 155 pounds of meth, 24 pounds of heroin and 9 pounds of cocaine. In separate interceptions on May 4, agents captured $3.4 million worth of heroin.
Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings of the Rio Grande Sector reported May 5 that agents “apprehended 172 migrants in 5 failed human smuggling events. In one incident agents discovered 64 migrants inside a human smuggling stash house in Rio Grande city, Texas.” Two days prior, agents “foiled five human smuggling events that resulted in the apprehension of 32 migrants. In one event, the noncitizens were locked in a trailer within pallets of cargo.”
In one day, the Rio Grande unit seized 60 pounds of cocaine and nearly 900 pounds of marijuana.
Star County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that it disrupted four human smuggling stash houses, resulting in the arrest of 52 immigrants in seven hours.
On May 4, the Laredo Sector Border Patrol shut down three stash houses and apprehended over 180 people.
“All of the people rescued from these Stash Houses were being held against their will. Human Smuggling/Trafficking are dangerous situations. Please help others by reporting suspicious situations you see; you just might save a life," Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Carl E. Landrum said.
In another encounter, McAllen Border Patrol agents recorded a stream of individuals illegally crossing the border on camera. They arrested 42 individuals, all single adults, actively attempting to evade apprehension.
In one weekend, McAllen Border Patrol also apprehended a group of eight individuals near Penitas, Texas. One individual has an extensive criminal record including indecency with a child sexual contact, a second-degree felony. Another had a racketeering charge.
At least five Texas counties have issued disaster declarations in response to increased crime as a result of the illegal border crossings.
While the White House is claiming there is an 88% reduction in unaccompanied minors being held at detention centers at the border, the total number of apprehensions by Border Patrol in April (over 177,000) is ten times what it was in April 2020 (17,106).
This weekend, Gov. Greg Abbott said neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris has had any contact with him and that Biden “doesn’t care about the border.” The administration “does not want to resolve the challenges we have on the border,” he added.
“The first 100 days of the Biden administration have been great for the gangs, the cartels, for the human traffickers who have been exploiting the border.”
The financial cost to Texas is expected to exceed $1 billion, Abbott said, for “the state to secure the border of the United States of America.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration five times over federal immigration policies and says the lawsuits will continue because the Biden administration continues to break the law.