Border Patrol had more than 22,000 illegal immigrants in custody while releasing thousands of others as of late Tuesday, according to internal nationwide agency data obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Border Patrol hit 97% capacity nationwide late Tuesday, with multiple stations and sectors massively exceeding holding space, according to the data. Additionally, Border Patrol released 6,481 illegal immigrants into the interior of the country Monday to await the adjudication of their immigration cases. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Federal Agents Say They’re Stuck ‘Babysitting’ Illegal Immigrants Instead Of Stopping Criminals)
Border Patrol nationwide had roughly 20,000 migrants in custody as of Nov. 29, according to internal data the DCNF obtained at the time.
Arizona’s Ajo station had 546% capacity filled late Tuesday as a massive migrant surge overwhelms the Tucson sector, which has seen the shutdown of Border Patrol social media, trainings, and checkpoint and port of entry closures.
The surge has also forced Border Patrol to call in reinforcements from the coastal and northern borders to help virtually process migrants that have crossed illegally, according to an internal agency message recently obtained by the DCNF. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and air marshals also helping address the influx to the area, federal officials told the DCNF.
“The last thread of morale we have is gone. If I didn’t have so many years of service, I’d bolt. I love my job when I’m able to do it tracking groups, being on the ATV unit, but this administration has killed that,” a Border Patrol agent dealing with the surge told the DCNF.
“It’s extremely frustrating. Our national security is non-existent,” a second agent told the DCNF.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is working to address the surge, an agency spokesperson told the DCNF.
“CBP continues to surge personnel and resources to our Nations’s borders to expeditiously take migrants into custody. Additionally, CBP is maximizing enforcement efforts against those who do not use lawful pathways or processes and those without a legal basis to remain in the United States,” the spokesperson said.
The agency said its also working to counter “smuggling networks” and others seeking to exploit migrants.
“We’re undertaking new law enforcement operations to impose consequences on transportation companies, including bus and van lines, used by smuggling organizations and nefarious actors to move migrants through northern Mexico and to our southwest border,” the spokesperson said. “We are in constant communication with local, state, federal, and international stakeholders to address current irregular migration patterns most effectively and will continue to adjust our operational posture as needed.”
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