Over 15,000 Illegal Immigrants Apprehended Along Southern Border in One Week as Large Group Crossings Spike

July 21, 2021 Updated: July 21, 2021

U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas over the recent weekend encountered the biggest single group of illegal immigrants so far this fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Agents with the Rio Grande City station on July 17 encountered a group of 298 people walking north along a ranch road near La Grulla after illegally entering the United States, according to a CBP statement released on July 19. That’s the largest single group so far this fiscal year, CBP noted, amid a spike in large groups of people crossing the southern border illegally.

One individual within the group showed symptoms of COVID-19 and was taken to an area hospital, where the person later indeed tested positive for the CCP virus.

“Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, human smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts with zero regard for the lives they endanger, nor to the health of the citizens of our great nation,” CBP said.

On July 16, agents apprehended an additional group of 235 illegal immigrants near La Grulla, including 27 unaccompanied children, according to CBP. Another large group of 203 illegal immigrants was found on July 18, along the same ranch road as the July 17 group.

Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings on July 20 shared photos of one of the encounters on Twitter, along with the message that a total of more than 15,000 illegal immigrants were taken into custody in the Rio Grande Valley sector in one week.

Hastings wrote in a follow-up tweet that, while agents’ attention was distracted by the large groups, a smuggler fled the scene, leaving 11 people in a moving vehicle.

“Human smugglers always have and always will place profit over human lives,” Hastings added, sharing a photo of the pickup truck, which appeared to be stuck in bushes after running off the road.

Agents in the Yuma sector in Arizona also encountered several large groups of illegal immigrants this past weekend, with Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris Clem announcing on Twitter that over 8,000 people have been apprehended in the sector so far this month.

“Since FY21, Yuma Sector has apprehended 68,008 migrants, a 854 percent increase from the 7,129 total migrants apprehended during the same time last year,” Clem wrote.

Epoch Times Photo
A group of illegal immigrants is processed by Border Patrol after crossing the U.S.–Mexico border in La Joya, Texas, on April 10, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, a recent analysis by Steven Kopits, head of Princeton Policy Advisors think tank, projected that immigration officials could encounter nearly 1.7 million people seeking to enter the United States illegally by the end of 2021, with Kopits blaming the Biden administration’s “open border” policies.

The analysis comes after federal immigration officials announced that they had apprehended 188,829 people illegally crossing the southwest border in June, up from 180,034 in May. The figure includes more than 15,000 unaccompanied minors, over 55,000 family units, and over 117,000 single adults.

“The only way to achieve such stratospheric numbers is by a deliberate policy of holding the border open,” Kopits wrote in the analysis.

“In all but two of the last twenty-one years, June apprehensions were below May apprehensions,” Kopits wrote. “The case is just the opposite this year, suggesting that extraordinary factors—like an open border—are stimulating continued and counter-seasonal flows of illegal immigration.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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