The number of illegal immigrant encounters at the southern border has exploded — rising more than 71 percent since February — as the Biden administration scrambles to respond to the dramatic increase, according to new figures released Thursday by Customs and Border Protection.
Border Patrol agents encountered more than 172,000 people trying to enter the US illegally along the border in March, up from the 100,441 who tried to cross in February, the agency said.
The Border Patrol has already had more than 569,800 encounters this year, a 24 percent jump from the total encounters in Fiscal Year 2020 and a 34 percent increase from the same time frame during Fiscal Year 2019.
The federal agency also said that agents encountered 18,890 unaccompanied children from Central America, doubling February’s number of 9,297 minors.
CBP said the children make up the largest demographic of individuals in federal detention facilities – even though they make up less than 11 percent of the encounters.