TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, Mark Morgan, visited Tucson on Wednesday to talk about fiscal year 2020 .
Overall, CBP says it’s seeing an increase in illegal activity at the border.
There have also been clashes and demonstrations along the southern border in recent months over wall construction and immigration practices.
Several lawsuits have been filed to halt construction, but Morgan said despite those stays construction is not stopping.
“Currently it’s not impeding construction at all. In fact In the last few months during a global pandemic, we’ve actually built more miles of wall in the last few months than we did in the first half. We’re building more miles more day and more miles per week than we ever have before,” said Morgan.
While apprehensions for the year are down 53 percent compared to 2019, in recent months CBP has not only seen an increase in people trying to cross the border illegally but a record number of rescues and drug seizures.
“The hard narcotics that we refer to as well have skyrocketed,” said Morgan.
Morgan says because of the pandemic, production for drugs just like this have gone up 25 percent for meth and 71 percent for fentanyl.
But it’s how migrants are being expelled from the U-S that’s been largely criticized.
“Under the CDC order, it directs us to those individuals now that are crossing illegally for us to detain them, process them right at the border and return them immediately,” said Morgan.
<Angelica: what do you say to those people who say you’re using the coronavirus, this pandemic to keep people from coming into this country?>6
KOLD’s Angelica Carrillo asked the Commissioner about using the pandemic as an excuse to keep people from coming into the U.S.
Morgan replied, “That’s just a false narrative, what we did in COVID-19, again this administration, quick decisive action to really institute the effective containment and mitigation strategies to further reduce the inflow of Covid-19 in this country.”
It’s a change that at least for now, has no end in sight. Morgan says it will be up to the CDC as to when Title 42 expulsions end.
Morgan also minced no words on who he thinks is to blame.
“That was the genesis of the catch and release. Congress can end that in 15 minutes, they have refused to do so time and time again,” said Morgan.
And things are expected to pick up even more next year.
“As the economic conditions are worsening, in Mexico and in the entire Western Hemisphere due to COVID, get ready, we’re already since the numbers increase,” said Morgan.
For full CBP FY2020 stats click HERE: Southwest Border Migration FY 2020 | U.S. Customs and Border Protection