The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released data Monday showing illegal immigration spiked 23 percent in the fiscal year leading up to the November election, but that was only part of the story.
The DHS report said 408,870 illegal aliens were apprehended at the southern border in fiscal 2016, up 23 percent from 2015.
That in itself was shocking, since Democrats have always maintained that deportations have increased under Obama and the hullabaloo over “illegals” was a fiction meant to stir up the Republican base.
But Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate subcommittee on immigration and the national interest, issued a statement late Tuesday that focused on another number.
“This is only half the story. The 408,870 does not include those illegal aliens who evaded detection and successfully entered the United States,” Sessions said.
Sessions, an adviser to Donald Trump, cited testimony before his subcommittee earlier this year in which Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said that for every illegal alien who is apprehended, another evades arrest.
“This statistic reportedly has been confirmed by DHS, but the Obama administration refuses to release that information,” Sessions said. “Using that rate as a baseline, that means approximately 408,870 illegal aliens evaded detection, for a grand total of roughly 817,740 illegal entries into the United States last year.”
Nearly 1 million illegal crossings in 2016
So there you have it. For the first time ever, a true picture of the total number of illegal immigrants coming across the border – more than 800,000 in one year. And even that doesn’t include the number of immigrants who overstay their visas after legally entering the country.
Another report put out by the Center for Immigration Studies Wednesday shows asylum applications from illegal border-crossers up more than 900 percent since 2009.
It is notable that Monday’s announcement did not indicate how many of the 408,807 apprehended aliens were actually removed from the United States, Sessions said.
“Although those numbers will not be known for some time, the simple fact is that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands, of those apprehended are still in the country,” Sessions said. “Indeed, Brandon Judd also testified at that same hearing that approximately 80 percent of the aliens that the Border Patrol actually apprehends are released and not immediately deported. Data revealed earlier this year indicated that the Obama Administration allowed 97 percent of the unaccompanied illegal alien juveniles it previously apprehended to remain in the United States, instead of being deported.”
And the percentage of members of so-called “family units” who have been allowed to evade deportation from the United States is similar, according to Sessions, who is advising Donald Trump on immigration issues.
“The increase in new illegal arrivals is alarming, particularly the increase in family arrivals,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank focusing on immigration.
“The Obama administration’s catch and release policies serve as a major motivation for people around the world to make their way to the U.S. border,” Vaughan added.
“The real problem is that we have no way of knowing for sure how many or who evaded detection,” she said. “The Border Patrol does not have full situational awareness in all places. If all of the teens and families are approaching the Border Patrol in order to get their permission to stay, then the 817,000 could be a little on the high side, but the real problem is that our government does not know. What we do know is that the Border Patrol doesn’t really patrol all of the border, and that Border Patrol agents are told not to arrest every illegal alien that they encounter, and that they are often distracted by the groups of teens and families allowing other loads to get by undetected.”
And, many illegal settlers don’t have to bother with the border anymore, as they can walk up to a legal port of entry, ask for asylum, and be allowed to enter, she said.
“Unfortunately, many communities around the country are paying the price for these lax policies as they have to pick up the tab for the schooling, health care and other social services that the new arrivals will be accessing.”
Sessions says the consequences of these policies are rising crime rates and less-safe cities.
“The Obama Administration’s open-border policies have made our country less secure than we were eight years ago, eviscerated any semblance of credibility in our immigration system, and have created an ever-growing financial burden on U.S. taxpayers,” Sessions said. “The country cannot sustain this course. The Obama Administration and the special interests may not believe in secure borders, but the American people do.”