Much of the research & reporting for this topic took place in a series of communications, including direct contact with officials at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Customs & Border Protection held a Press Call that discussed valuable information about the state of security at the U.S. Southern Border. Some of it has been reported in the press but this is the complete transcript below. We encourage you to give it a read!
Transcript: March, FY19 Year to Date Statistics Press Call
“Another phenomena that we’ve talked about in the past, and I’ll mention again, is the large groups that we’re seeing. Currently as of March 28 the Border Patrol set another unsettling milestone by reaching 100 large groups that we’ve seen so far this fiscal year. Again, we define a large group as a group over 100.
To put that in a little bit of context, in FY ’18 we had a total of 13 large groups, fiscal year ’17 two large groups as this trend intensifies, the already substantial humanitarian and border security crisis. Just last week we had four large groups encountered in RGV in a single day consisting of almost 500 individuals. On Tuesday, March 26, again in just one day, RGV encountered three large groups totaling 386 individuals.
Not only does this divert our resources, but as we’ve seen recently, smuggling organizations are utilizing these large groups as a diversion to enable the movement of smuggling of narcotics. Approximately 60 large groups so far this year have been encountered in remote locations which causes us particular concern because they’re generally the furthest away from our processing centers, medical services, contract transportation and even our stations.
Additionally Border Patrol agents are spending more time than ever providing transportation and hospital watch for medical care of those in our custody. The increase in flow combined with the stress of the journey, crowded conveyance and flu season have resulted in significant increases for referrals to medical providers.
Currently on average the Border Patrol is sending 63 people per day for additional medical treatment. This is the highest we have seen this number since we began tracking this. We’re currently on track to refer over 31,000 people for medical treatment this year as compared to only 12,000 during fiscal year 2018.”