Border Patrol official rejects ‘seasonal’ migrant surge argument

A top Border Patrol official is dismissing the idea that the ​record-smashing surge of illegal immigrants arriving at the southern border is “seasonal” — adding that the current situation is “much different than what we’ve dealt with in the past.”

“This is not seasonal,” Deputy Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told NBC News on Wednesday.

“I do think that what we’re dealing with is much different than what we’ve dealt with in the past,” he said.

O​rtiz spoke to NBC as reports say ​Border Patrol agents are stopping more than 5,000 illegal immigrants at the border each day. 

And more than 19,000 unaccompanied children were picked up by US authorities in July, surpassing the previous high of 18,877 in March, the Associated Press reported, citing preliminary figures. 

In this Jan. 10, 2018 photo, from left, President Donald Trump flanked by John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, and Border Patrol agent, Raul Ortiz talk on the banks of the Rio Grande River near Anzaldua's Park in McAllen, Texas. Ortiz was appointed as Border Patrol Chief on Thursday, June 24, 2021, a day after chief Rodney Scott was forced out of his job.

The number of families coming to the US is expected to reach 80,000 in July, the second-highest total on record. 

The figures come at a time when the Biden administration, already slammed for its inability to contain the border crisis, is facing renewed criticism for releasing 50,000 illegal immigrants into the US without a court date, Axios reported. 

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra told NBC News that cities in southern Texas are dealing with a crisis, but “It just doesn’t seem that our officials in Washington are listening to us and we feel abandoned.”

McAllen, the largest city in the county, declared a local disaster earlier this week because of the influx of migrants and the possibility that many of them may be infected with COVID-19.

Migrants are processed by United States Border Patrol after crossing the US-Mexico border into the United States in Penitas, Texas on July 8, 2021. - Republican lawmakers have slammed Biden for reversing Trump programs, including his "remain in Mexico" policy, which had forced thousands of asylum seekers from Central America to stay south of the US border until their claims were processed.
AFP via Getty Images

The city announced it would begin to build temporary emergency shelters to deal with the arrival of huge groups of migrants that have overwhelmed existing facilities. 

McAllen said the Respite Center, which houses the migrants while they make arrangements to travel to their US destinations, admitted an average of 750 people a day at the start of July.

“That number, over the course of the month, escalated to over 1,100 people per day, and so far in August has surged to over 1,900 people per day,” the city said. “The Respite Center has capacity for only 1,236 occupants and will not allow more than its maximum occupancy at any given time.”

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