(Original air date Sep. 25, 2022)
Updated numbers are out and, as expected, the number of border agent encounters with illegal crossers has passed 2.1 million this year — the most ever in American history. And there’s still a month to go in the fiscal year. That breaks last year’s record of 1.7 million. Authorities estimate at least that many more come into the U.S. without turning themselves in.
The following is a transcript of a report from "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.
We reported from one of the hot zones, Eagle Pass Texas, which has seen up to 4,000 illegal border crossings a day in a town of just 28,000. It’s just one example the dysfunction resulting from an all-time historic number of illegal immigrants crossing under the Biden Administration, a record number of immigrant deaths, and record U.S. fentanyl deaths from drugs brought in by traffickers.
Sheriff Tom Schmerber / Maverick County, TX Sheriff: I mean, it's like, we're overrun.
Mayor Rolando Salinas / (D) Eagle Pass, TX: And I've opened the invitation to anyone in the administration, whether it be President, Vice President, or one of his representatives, to please come to Eagle Pass, Texas. We are part of the United States. Please come and take a look of what's happening in our community.
Sharyl : What if their plan is: this is the plan?
Salinas: Well then, that's unfortunate. And we will keep doing our best to maintain the order that we have.
The whole crisis leaving both Democrat and Republican local officials at a loss to understand how the Biden Administration could say the border is secure and that President Biden has done more to protect the border that President Trump ever did.
Three days after our story aired, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis sent a small group of 50 illegal border crossers to upscale Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts — a sanctuary state that has claimed it welcomes illegal immigrants. But residents reacted to the unwanted arrivals by saying they couldn’t take care of them.
Resident: We didn’t know they were coming. Like these immigrants showed up here. We never expected them. I mean, I know Texas and Florida expects them.
Instead of welcoming them to stay, someone organized an operation to remove the illegal border crossers and send them north to a military base, Joint Base Cape Cod.
Democrats accused Republicans of using humans as political pawns and said the governors of Florida and Texas should be investigated on kidnapping charges.
Karine Jean-Pierre / White House Press Secretary (September 16): These were children, they were moms, they were fleeing communism, and what did Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott do to them? They used them as political pawns, treated them like chattel in a cruel, premeditated political stunt.
In recent months, Texas has bussed thousands of illegal border crossers who are seeking asylum to New York City and Washington, D.C. — sanctuary cities. Although it’s the tiniest fraction of what border towns have been dealing with for years, the big cities declared emergencies and demanded federal assistance.
Republicans pointed to years of the federal government arranging flights and other transports, often shrouded in secrecy, to place hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants around the U.S., usually without notifying the local authorities. Republicans say those who support illegal immigration and sanctuary cities seem happy to have the influx only as long as it doesn’t touch their own lives.
Governor Ron DeSantis / (R) Florida (September 15): You know, every community in America should be sharing in the burdens. It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.
With so many illegal crossings each day and no end in sight, many communities are grappling with paying the costs. But even in towns that aren’t directly impacted, taxpayers are paying a huge price.
One analysis finds each illegal immigrant in the U.S. costs taxpayers more than $9,000 a year to support. Those who have come in since January of 2021 will add a burden of $20.4 billion a year, bringing the total annual cost of illegal immigration to over $160 billion every year.
Sharyl (on-camera): The Federation for American Immigration Reform says that’s enough in a single year to provide every homeless veteran in America $50,000 a year for the next decade.
Watch update here.