This week, the United States saw a record-breaking number of illegal alien encounters at the southwest border in a single day. 

According to numbers released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, the southwest border saw more than 12,000 encounters on Tuesday. 

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez told Fox News the recent historic influx has strained federal law enforcement. 

Olivarez said that aside from the 12,000 encounters across the southwest border, border patrol agents saw more than 17,000 encountersnot including “got aways” or apprehensions at a port of entry—in the last five days at the Del Rio sector alone.

He says that Texas has been forced to take on most of the responsibility as the federal government slow-rolls assistance for the crisis.

“We’ve been doing it for the last three years, with state funding, with the troopers we have, with the National Guard soldiers, making our own barriers, everything that Gov. [Greg] Abbott has implemented since March of 2021,” explained Olivarez. “But now we need some real action across the southwest border so we can stem the flow and prevent these illegal border crossings.” 

Currently, Olivarez says 22,000 are in custody, and there have been more than 535,000 apprehensions since October 1—20,000 more than last year.

The situation is way past a crisis; it is “catastrophic,” according to Olivarez. He added that as the border continues to see rising numbers of illegal crossers, the federal government refuses to put policies in place to prevent illegal border crossings. 

“These processing centers, they don’t have the capacity to house these illegal immigrants,” said Olivarez. “Some of these ports of entry have to be closed to legitimate trade and travel because we’re having to divert those federal resources to help process and that’s not what we should be doing right now. We need to focus on trying to put something in place, a policy in place, that’s going to prevent anyone trying to make that journey to the border so we can focus on criminal activity that’s taken place.”

Currently, Texas is attempting to curtail illegal entry into the state with a new measure that creates a criminal offense for such entry. While the measure awaits the governor’s final approval, the American Civil Liberties Union has already promised to sue the state over the measure—meaning it could be tied up in litigation for years before it is actually implemented.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.