Excerpts from the May 5, 2021 segment
Stacy: It’s always good to have you here, although I’ve already warned everyone that you don’t bring us the tidings of great joy when you join us. Now that we’re in the Biden administration, I mean fully in it, it’s been unhappy groupings of information that we’ve been receiving but I really feel like this is the time when we grit through it. We grit our teeth, and we get as much information in because we never know when we’ll be near someone who thinks the border is fine, or who thinks the border is Trump’s fault and we can share something that we heard from Todd Bensman. It’s good support for us to get the details, so what’s the latest?
Bensman: The latest is going to be the April numbers, apprehension numbers not the got-away numbers. So it looks like the numbers are starting to leak out. I’m not sure they’re official yet. It looks like it’s going to be 177,000 apprehensions that happened in the four weeks of April. That compares to 170,000 in the month of March, about 100,000 in February and 70,000 in January. So we’re looking at about a half a million people since the inauguration. The numbers are not quite as high as I expected they would be. I’m kind of curious to see the official numbers. But they are astronomically high. I would say it’s been about 25 years since we’ve seen a month like this. And this is going to be a number that is absent this other number that I just wrote about Monday, and that’s the got-aways number. This is a very slippery one, kind of like trying to grab Jello, that got-away number. Because you’ve got tracks in the dirt and a Border Patrol agent counting tracks in the dirt and submitting those, right? Or, a helicopter spots a group and nobody got caught in that sector for 24 hours so that number gets counted. But it is what it is. And it looks like that number is going to be just a little bit north of about 40,000. So 177,000 and 40,000…. now you’re well into 200,000 territory. So that just kind of gives you an idea of what’s happening. That doesn’t mean 200,000 actually got into the country. There will be some percentage of those who were turned back under Title 42. Remember, Title 42 is the pandemic-containment policy that allows Border Patrol to immediately turn back captured immigrants to Mexico right over the nearest bridge, where they are free to try again and again. So there’s some recidivism numbers in there too, like multiple tries to get in. So the 200,000 is a big number for sure. We don’t really know what the recidivism rate is for the 42s. But we definitely know that tens of thousands of families and teenagers were allowed in, ushered in, again. And they’ll continue to be families and teenagers and children – unaccompanied minors, they call them – ushered into the country right through a turnstile, given legal papers and forever to live here. So that’s what we’re looking at. We’re mostly getting the single adults – the ones who get turned back. So that’s kind of, to me, the big news peg on the border story right now.
I just came back from the Big Bend territory, part of the border. Big Bend is of course part of West Texas, a very rugged territory and historically difficult to cross without a smuggler and even with a smuggler you’re looking at days and days on the trail through mountains and valleys, arroyos and no water. And so historically, that region has been fairly lightly traveled by illegal immigrants. But not anymore, which is why I went out there. Big Bend is now afflicted by the Biden border crisis.
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