Under President Joe Biden, November’s border encounters marked another historic high. This also marks the sixth consecutive month of an increase in border encounters.
There were over 233,700 border encounters, of which over 204,100 (87 percent) were unique. Cuban and Nicaraguan migrants made up the excess: over 68,000 (35 percent) of unique encounters were from the two countries. Mexicans and North Central Americans accounted for over 58,500 (30 percent) of unique encounters, a 14 percent decrease from November 2021.
The all-time high in one single month under the Biden administration occurred in May with over 241,100 encounters.
That’s a four percent increase from last month.
Since Biden took office, there have been over 4.36 million border encounters. This excludes “gotaways.” At this rate, there could be over 9.3 million encounters by the end of Biden’s first term.
Single adults accounted for 67 percent (157,200) of this month’s encounters. This demographic yielded the greatest growth year-over-year under the Biden administration. These latest totals for single adult illegal immigrants is nearly equal to the entirety of single adult encounters for fiscal year 2020.
Unaccompanied minors accounted for five percent (13,100). Family units accounted for 27 percent (63,100); this total is greater than the entire 2020 fiscal year.
The Tucson and Yuma Sectors recorded over 3,100 drug seizures for November. That’s a high under the Biden administration, but a low compared to pre-pandemic numbers under the Trump administration.
It’s likely more record highs are on the horizon. According to Fox News correspondence with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 87 percent of illegal immigrants encountered over Christmas weekend were released. Of the nearly 16,500 encounters, only about 2,100 were expelled under Title 42.
During her last year in the State Senate in 2018, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs backed a bill to add 131 new tax auditors, managers, and staff to the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) using $8.3 million in state funds. At the time, Hobbs was the State Senate’s minority leader.
Throughout her gubernatorial campaign, Hobbs said she would lighten the tax process burden for the working class if elected. Hobbs also pledged to cut income taxes for 800,000 families if elected governor.
Additionally, Hobbs promised that working-class Arizonans wouldn’t pay “a center higher” for her economic plan, nor would they face unnecessary tax burdens.
Hobbs’ proposed plan to increase ADOR was similar to the Biden administration’s recent accomplishment: expanding the IRS. In August, Congress voted to increase the size of the IRS by about 87,000 agents through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a repackaged version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Act. Republicans decried the provision as a weaponization of the IRS that would cause disproportionate harm to the working class. Democrats dismissed those concerns, insisting that the IRS would only target the wealthy not paying their fair share of taxes, and that the IRA would mitigate inflation.
Last year, over 50 percent of all IRS audits targeted taxpayers making under $75,000 a year, which applies to about 171.6 million Americans (52 percent). About 25 percent of IRS audits applied to taxpayers making between $75,000 to $200,000, which applies to about 118.8 million Americans (36 percent).
In all, 75 percent of audits may apply to the 290.4 million Americans that comprise 88 percent of the population (about 330 million).
The bill that Hobbs cosponsored in 2018, SB1324, proposed the addition of two corporate income tax audit managers, 28 corporate income tax auditors, two transaction privilege tax managers, 28 transaction privilege tax auditors, two transaction privilege tax license compliance staff managers, 18 transaction privilege tax license compliance staff members, 40 tax collectors, and 11 support staff members.
The bill died quietly, having never received a vote in any committee. Its House companion, HB2137, experienced the same fate.
At the time, Governor Doug Ducey expressed a desire to expand ADOR — but by 25 tax collector positions that had been eliminated several years prior, about 80 percent less than what HB2137/SB1324 proposed. Ducey was looking for ways to make up about $83 million in lost audit revenue.
On Tuesday, Arizona finished the border wall gaps in Yuma. The state began closing the wall 11 days ago, on Friday, August 13.
Governor Doug Ducey celebrated the state’s rapid securement of the border the following day, the conclusion of an executive order which he dubbed the “Border Barrier Mission.”
“We did it,” wrote Ducey. “Yuma is safer today.”
In a press release, Ducey declared that his action didn’t mean the federal government was off the hook for border security. Ducey insinuated that Arizona’s quick action proved that the Biden administration didn’t really want the border closed.
“In just 11 days, Arizona did the job the federal government has failed to do — and we showed them just how quickly and efficiently the border can be made more secure – if you want to,” declared Ducey.
The state closed five gaps amounting to over 3,800 feet in the border wall. Securing the wall took 130 shipping containers and 48 workers, coming in at a cost of over $6 million. By comparison, the Biden administration spent an estimated $3 million every day — around $2 billion total — to not complete the border wall, per President Joe Biden’s proclamation.
The governor’s office secured the funding through border security legislation passed in the most recent legislative session: HB2317 from State Representative John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) codified June 30.
Ducey relayed that the Biden administration promised Arizona last December that it would close the Yuma border wall gaps. No construction has taken place. Ducey noted that Yuma communities and their resources, such as nonprofits, food banks, and shelters, were overburdened by the illegal immigrant crisis. The area’s agriculture, the lifeblood of their economy, also suffered due to the travel of illegal immigrants.
In the press release, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls expressed gratitude for Ducey’s action.
“Every day hundreds of people come across the border into the Yuma area,” said Nicholls. “By closing the border wall gaps, Governor Ducey is helping to protect our city from the dangerous drugs and bad actors that come through on a daily basis. Yuma is grateful for the effective process of getting these containers in place quickly and secured. Governor Ducey showed the nation how to secure the border and keep illegal activity at the border at bay.”
Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines also commended Ducey and excoriated the Biden administration for its inaction.
“The open border left behind by the Biden administration has left Yuma County residents exhausted and our resources depleted,” said Lines. “We’re tired of the lethal drugs and human smuggling entering our county. These containers are making a huge difference and will disrupt the cartels’ trafficking operations. Thank you, Governor Ducey, for prioritizing our county and protecting our families.”
Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) didn’t respond to questions about his support for President Joe Biden’s plans to run for re-election in 2024.
On Friday, Fox News asked O’Halleran and five other Democratic congressmen about their support for a Biden 2024 run. O’Halleran and four others didn’t respond. The network posed their question several weeks after O’Halleran failed to respond to a similar question from the Daily Caller.
According to data from FiveThirtyEight, O’Halleran has a perfect voting record on issues supported by the president, though he’s insinuated otherwise.
O’Halleran was also behind the controversial proposal to suspend the federal gas tax, along with Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ). Democratic leaders received the initiative coolly, according to interviews presented in Politico. The legislators spurned the idea as one that would bleed revenue without justifiable savings for consumers.
On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris told CNN anchor Dana Bash that she and Biden would seek re-election in 2024. Harris issued those remarks less than an hour after the New York Times reported on Democratic Party leaders’ dissent over Biden’s desire to run again.
“Joe Biden is running for re-election and I will be his ticket mate,” stated Harris. “Full stop. That’s it.”
Biden’s promise to run is something that certain individuals within Biden-Harris immediate circle have echoed repeatedly, despite pushback from fellow Democratic leaders. Lack of unified support has Biden “irked,” according to insiders that spoke with multiple mainstream outlets close with the Biden administration: including the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, The Atlantic, and Politico.
Although O’Halleran’s voting record supports Biden’s policies wholeheartedly, his reluctance to back a second round of a Biden-Harris administration may have to do with public sentiment in addition to party dissent. Biden’s approval ratings have consistently dropped: the majority of voters have disapproved of the president since last October.
FiveThirtyEight estimated that close to 56 percent of voters disapprove of Biden at present, while nearly 40 percent approve.
Reuters offered worse numbers: they estimated that 58 percent of voters disapprove of Biden, while only 36 percent approve.
By comparison, former President Donald Trump’s approval ratings fluctuated, hitting lows of 35 at the end of 2018 and at the very end of his term in 2021, but maintaining averages at or above 40 and up to 49 throughout his four years.
O’Halleran is also potentially facing a tougher voter base, thanks to redistricting. Certain studies asserted that the congressman’s new district leans Republican — if active in 2020, the Phoenix-based survey research group Data Orbital projected that Trump would have won the district by over 8 points.
On Wednesday, the entire Republican caucus of the House submitted a legislative proclamation on the floor denouncing the current state of the border under President Joe Biden.
State Representative Gail Griffin (R-Hereford) sponsored the legislation. All 31 Republicans signed onto it.
The GOP proclamation cited the fact that 1.7 million illegal immigrants accounted for a nearly 380 percent increase in border crossings compared to the previous fiscal year. It also noted the spike in drug trafficking: 10,000 pounds of fentanyl, 180,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 86,000 pounds of cocaine, 5,000 pounds of heroin, and 311,000 pounds of marijuana. That’s in conjunction with thousands of violent crimes committed.
The proclamation also touched on a newer trend: cartels recruiting teenagers via social media to be human smugglers for about $1,500 to $2,000 per illegal immigrant, nicknaming the vehicles “load cars” and the teens “load-car drivers.”
The proclamation is reproduced below, in full:
Whereas, the United States-Mexico border consists of 1,954 miles of varied terrain, including deserts, rugged mountainous areas, forests and coastal areas; and
Whereas, officially established in 1924 by an act of Congress in response to increasing illegal immigration, the United States Border Patrol has primary responsibility for securing the border between ports of entry; and Whereas, Border Patrol agents patrol international land borders and waterways to detect and prevent the illegal trafficking of people, narcotics and contraband into the United States; and
Whereas, on March 7, 2022, the Western States Sheriffs’ Association unanimously passed Resolution 22-1, which outlines the alarming issues facing our nation due to the unchecked illegal immigration crises at our southern border; and
Whereas, the southern border of the United States is currently experiencing an unprecedented number of people attempting to enter the country illegally, with the past fiscal year seeing a 379% increase of border encounters as compared to the previous fiscal year. These 1.7 million individuals represent 164 countries, including countries with suspected terrorist ties, and 63% of them are from countries other than Mexico; and
Whereas, there has likewise been a major increase in apprehensions, expulsions and “getaways” on the southwest border, with one million encounters and 300,000 getaways between October 1, 2021, and April 11, 2022; and
Whereas, in the past fiscal year, the number of illegal drugs seized has skyrocketed, including 10,000 pounds of fentanyl, 180,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 86,000 pounds of cocaine, 5,000 pounds of heroin and 311,000 pounds of marijuana. Likewise, criminal activity has soared, with law enforcement documenting 60 homicides, 1,178 assaults, 2,138 drug-related or drug trafficking arrests, 825 burglaries, 1,629 DUIs, 336 weapons arrests and 488 sexual assaults; and
Whereas, in a new effort to boost their operations, criminal cartels are using social media platforms as a recruiting tool for human smuggling. Drivers are lured by social media posts promising payment of $1,500 to $2,000 for every migrant a person can transport by vehicle to Tucson or Phoenix. Known as “load-car drivers,” these individuals are mainly young people, some as young as fourteen years old, who are enticed to pick up undocumented migrants at the border and ferry them to their destinations in exchange for money. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has called on four social media giants to better monitor their platforms and ban these recruitment posts on their sites; and
Whereas, for individuals who are smuggled into the United States by Mexican and South American cartels, their arrival marks the beginning of years of drug distribution, modern-day slavery and sex trafficking to pay back the criminal cartels to which they are indebted; and
Whereas, an estimated 8% of the 1.7 million encounters last fiscal year were unaccompanied minors; and
Whereas, tragically, the prior year saw 162 migrant deaths in Southern Arizona; and
Whereas, an uncontrolled border is a security and humanitarian crisis, and the increased violence and the smuggling of illegal drugs, weapons and human beings poses a direct threat to our communities and innocent Americans; and
Whereas, the current administration has halted construction of a southern border wall, and there are numerous unfinished sections in Arizona; and
Whereas, this administration is not working collaboratively or in good faith with local law enforcement agencies and other state leaders to address the serious issues related to the border; and
Whereas, in April 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency at Arizona’s southern border; and
Whereas, in February 2022, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion determining that the current crisis at Arizona’s southern border with the violence and lawlessness of cartels and gangs legally qualifies as an “invasion” under the United States Constitution.
Therefore, Representative Gail Griffin and the following members of the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona denounce the continued breach of our nation’s southern border and support safe communities, immediate, decisive action to secure the border and alleviate the security and humanitarian crises associated with illegal immigration.