The Border Patrol denounces that the cartels are using avalanches of immigrants to introduce drugs

While the arrival of illegal immigrants surpasses the historical annual record, the numbers of narcotics seizures on the border have suffered a significant drop.

The new new all-time historical record of arrivals of asylum seekers across the border has a flip side. While encounters with immigrants reached a record high of 2.8 million during the fiscal year in August, statistics on drug seizures have dropped significantly in the same period of time. Something that, according to the head of the Border Patrol, Jason Owens, is no coincidence. In a post on the social media platfor X, formerly known as Twitter, the chief denounces that the cartels are sending avalanches of people to border areas to make money with them, but also - above all - to bring drugs into the country.

Will there be more than three million immigrants in 2023?

According to the statistics for the month of August published by the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) last Friday, the 304,162 arrests this month (a new monthly high) indicate that, in the absence of September data to complete fiscal year 2023, 2,860,127 illegals have arrived in the country. That´s practically 100,000 more than during all of 2022, when the record of 2,766,582 encounters was established. The avalanches so far this month, with border cities warning that between 2,000 and 11,000 migrants are arriving daily, with the flow not ending soon, suggest that the three million barrier will be surpassed this year.

Statistical table on encounters with immigrants in recent years.

More terrorists arrested so far this year than between 2017-2022

Among the immigrants who are entering, arrests of individuals on the list of suspected terrorism have also skyrocketed. So far this fiscal year, the Border Patrol has captured 154 members from this list, more than the sum of those detained for this reason between 2017 and 2022. Additionally, the Office of Field Operations recorded 505 arrests of listed individuals. Figures only surpassed (although there is still the month of September) by the 538 detainees in 2019.

Data on arrests of terrorism suspects in recent years.

Drug seizures plummet

However, as Owens pointed out, these disproportionate numbers could be a distraction so that law enforcement, especially the Border Patrol, has to allocate all their resources, especially agents, to dealing with the avalanches of people that try to cross the  national borders. Meanwhile, the cartels are taking advantage of the situation to introduce drugs. This seems to be confirmed by the statistics published on narcotics seizures, which have been falling for years, something especially notable in 2023.

Although seizures marked their annual high in August, reaching 90,000 pounds of intercepted drugs , about 100,000 pounds less have been caught trying to cross the border so far this fiscal year than during 2022. These figures are very far from the seizures of 2020 or 2019. However, consumption and overdoses in the interior of the country have grown alarmingly.

Data on drug seizures at the border in recent years