San Diego

Border Patrol: Encounters Linked to Migrant Crossings on the Rise

The increase was 38% in encounters with immigrants between the checkpoints in February of the 2022 fiscal year compared to 2021

Mario Tama/Getty Images

This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.

The San Diego Sector of the United States Border Patrol (USBP) has seen a considerable increase in the number of encounters linked to immigrant crossings.

The Border Patrol agents in San Diego saw a 38% increase in encounters with immigrants between checkpoints in February of the 2022 fiscal year compared to 2021, according to agency data.

"Most of these people continue to be of Mexican nationality and from the northern triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador)," said Angel Moreno, an agent with the San Diego border patrol.

"U.S. Immigration policy does not drive in migrants. It's war or mass violence, and macroeconomics," explained Everard Meade, director of Proceso Pacífico.

Analyzing Border Patrol data, Telemundo 20 saw that, at the southern border, during the February fiscal year in 2021, 101,099 people tried to cross the southern border, according to USBP data. Last month, Border Patrol saw 164,973 people attempt to cross.

Source: USBP and OFO official yearend reporting for FY19-Y21; USBP and OFO month-end reporting for FY22 to date. Data is current as of 03/03/2022.

The secretary of Homeland Security has said that title 42 is maintained and that deportations have decreased. Title 42, which allows the government to refuse migrants seeking refuge at the border in the interest of public health, has been used regularly by border agents since March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order remains in place for adults and families traveling with children.

"In the consumption of images of the border, we always do that. We make a link between what the Secretary of Homeland Security says and the arrival of people at the border," Meade said.

The federal budget for the fiscal year 2022 will provide $14 billion to Border Patrol -- $927 million less than in 2021 -- which does not provide funding for new agents or containment fences.

"Technology, infrastructure and personnel. That is, different types of infrared cameras, sensors strategically located along the southwest of the border to be able to prevent and arrest smugglers and criminals who are engaged in this type of activity," Moreno said.

Border Patrol said they must use all available resources to counter the crimes they say are linked to these crossings.

"We don't know if these people are economic migrants who are fleeing socioeconomic conditions in their home countries or if they just want to come and seek a better future in the United States or if they are members of criminal organizations that are dedicated to drug trafficking, which are people who have already been removed previously for their criminal records," Moreno said.

"It's time to ally and say, look who the criminals are here, who pose a threat to the national security of Mexico and the United States. Not poor migrants, but those who benefit from those," Meade said.

Title 42 expulsions of migrants seeking political asylum at the border are also included in Border Patrol encounters, which increased by more than 4,000 in February.

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