U.S. border arrests soar to record level, report says

U.S. authorities detained more than 1.7 million migrants along the southwest border this past fiscal year. The Washington Post reported that the spike brings border arrests to their highest level on record. 

"On average in any given month it's three times the amount that we have seen in previous years," Chad Wolf, a former acting secretary of homeland security, told FOX News. "And I think that's just catastrophic at the end of the day." 

The increase in arrests comes as the White House faces mounting criticism for transporting thousands of migrants from the border on overnight flights.

"Here we are talking about 'early' flights, earlier than you might like to take a flight," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, suggested that flying "in the dead of night" is because the Biden administration doesn't want its border policies scrutinized. 

In the meantime, Chris Magnus — the president's nominee to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection — faced a grilling in the Senate on Tuesday. He told lawmakers that the surge is a "significant challenge" but stopped short of calling the situation a "crisis."

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app | Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

"Does it really matter whether we call it a 'major challenge,' a 'crisis,' a 'big problem?'" Magnus said.

If confirmed, Magnus would head a massive agency of more than 45,000 sworn law enforcement personnel and about 17,000 civilian workers. 

And despite pushback from Republican lawmakers, Magnus is expected to be confirmed. In an equally divided Senate, the vice president casts the tie-breaking vote.

Read more on this topic at FoxNews.com.