https://www.theepochtimes.com/over-15000-illegal-immigrants-apprehended-along-southern-border-in-one-week-amid-spike-in-large-group-crossings_3911415.html

Amid a spike in large groups of people crossing the southern border illegally, border patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector over the weekend encountered the biggest single group of illegal immigrants so far this year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Agents with the Rio Grande City border patrol station on Saturday encountered a group of 298 people walking north along a ranch road near La Grulla, Texas, after illegally entering the United States, according to a CBP statement released on July 19. This is the largest single group so far this fiscal year, CBP noted.

One individual within the group showed symptoms of COVID-19 and was taken to an area hospital, where the person later tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, human smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts with zero regard for the lives they endanger nor to the health of the citizens of our great nation,” CBP said.

On Friday, agents apprehended a group of 235 illegal immigrants near La Grulla, including 27 unaccompanied children, according to CBP. Another large group of 203 illegal immigrants was apprehended on Sunday, walking along the same ranch road as the group encountered on Saturday.

Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings on Tuesday shared photos of one of the encounters on Twitter, along with the message that a total of over 15,000 illegal immigrants had been apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley sector in one week.

Hastings wrote in a follow-up tweet that, while agents’ attention was diverted to large groups, a smuggler fled the scene, leaving 11 people in a moving vehicle.

“Human smugglers always have and always will place profit over human lives,” wrote Hastings, who shared a photo of a pickup truck that appeared to be stuck in bushes after running off the road.

Agents in the Yuma sector in Arizona also encountered several large groups of illegal immigrants this past weekend, with Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris Clem taking to Twitter to announce that over 8,000 people have been apprehended in the sector so far this month.

“Since FY21 Yuma Sector has apprehended 68,008 migrants, a 854 percent increase from the 7,129 total migrants apprehended during the same time last year,” Clem wrote.

A group of illegal immigrants is processed by Border Patrol after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in La Joya, Texas, on April 10, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, a recent analysis by Steven Kopits, head of Princeton Policy Advisors, a think tank, projected that immigration officials could encounter nearly 1.7 million people seeking to enter the United States illegally by the end of 2021, with Kopits blaming the Biden administration’s “open border” policies.

The analysis comes after federal immigration officials announced that they had apprehended 188,829 people illegally crossing the southwest border in June, up from 180,034 in May. The figure includes more than 15,000 unaccompanied minors, over 55,000 family units, and over 117,000 single adults.

“The only way to achieve such stratospheric numbers is by a deliberate policy of holding the border open,” Kopits wrote in the analysis.

“In all but two of the last twenty-one years, June apprehensions were below May apprehensions,” Kopits wrote. “The case is just the opposite this year, suggesting that extraordinary factors—like an open border—are stimulating continued and counter-seasonal flows of illegal immigration.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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