More than a dozen illegal immigrants were stopped in a stolen truck in Texas after a police chase this week, one of a slew of chases and smuggling attempts that law enforcement is contending with amid a historic border crisis.
Video obtained by Fox News shows the bucket truck leading officers in Encinal, Texas, on a chase until they go off the road. Migrants then flee as officers draw their weapons. Authorities were able to apprehend 11 of the 15 migrants. The driver was one of those who evaded law enforcement.
It’s one of a series of migrant smuggling operations that authorities have thwarted, with migrants crammed into tight spots with little air or room to move. Local authorities say they are averaging a police chase a day.
Texas Department of Public Safety this week found more than 100 migrants being smuggled in a dump truck in one incident. In another, authorities stopped a vehicle attempting to carry more than 60 illegal immigrants.
TEXAS AUTHORITIES BUST DRIVER CARRYING OVER 60 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ACROSS US BORDER
Images from that scene show dozens of migrants, all young males, climbing out of the back of a dump truck.
Meanwhile, the number of migrants crossing illegally shows little sign of slowing overall. A group of 300 migrants crossed into Eagle Pass, Texas, on Thursday morning. The migrants were mostly single adult men from Cuba, something that has been seen every day this week so far.
There were more than 227,000 migrant encounters in September, a new record that sent the number of encounters for fiscal year 2022 up to more than 2.3 million.
Republicans have hammered the Biden administration for the crisis, which they attribute to the rolling back of Trump-era policies like the “Remain in Mexico” policy and border wall construction. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has focused on a strategy that targets “root causes” like poverty and violence in the region while at the same time promoting cooperation in the hemisphere.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced a cooperative border strategy with Mexico that sees resources flooded to the border as well as increased check points. It also involves expanding Title 42 expulsions to include Venezuelan nationals — whose numbers have spiked in recent months.
TEXAS MAN CHARGED AFTER OFFICERS FIND 84 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS INSIDE TRUCK
Customs and Border Protection, announcing the record September numbers, claims that that policy is already having an effect in the first weeks of October.
“Over the past week, the number of Venezuelans attempting to enter the country fell more than 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launch of the joint enforcement actions,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement. “While this early data is not reflected in the latest report, it confirms what we’ve said all along: when there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border unlawfully.”
September’s migrant encounter number was a significant increase from the same month in recent years. In September 2021, there were 192,001 migrant encounters. Border agents encountered 57,674 migrants in September 2020 and 52,546 in September 2019.
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CBP’s numbers also show that there were 20 known or suspected terrorists arrested at the southern border in September, bringing the total terror watch-list arrests at the border for fiscal year 2022 to 98. The number of terror watch-list arrests at the border for the last five years combined was 26.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Landon Mion contributed to this report.