Migrant encounters at the southern border have already surpassed the one million mark for Fiscal Year 2023, multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources tell Fox News, marking an unprecedented pace for encounters.
As of Friday, the total migrant encounters at the border were at 1,008,217 for the fiscal year, which began in October. Of those, 87.8% were single adults. Just 328,454 were expelled under Title 42 — the pandemic-era protocol that allows border agents to rapidly expel border crossers.
There were more than 1.7 million encounters overall in FY 2021 and over 2.3 million in FY 2022. The first months of FY 2023 have outpaced those of the prior fiscal year. This time last year, numbers for FY22 through March 1 were 839,819 — well under the 1 million mark.
Meanwhile, there have been 328,454 known “gotaways” — illegal immigrants who have evaded Border Patrol agents but have been detected on another form of surveillance. In FY 2022, there were nearly 600,000 gotaways.
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Despite the high number of encounters, the Biden administration has pointed to a sharp drop in numbers from the historic high of 251,000 in December to over 156,000 in January. While that figure is the highest on record for the month of January, officials still linked the drop to a number of measures rolled out by the administration last month — including a humanitarian parole program that allows 30,000 migrants from four nationalities into the U.S. each month.
CBP sources tell Fox that early indications for February’s numbers suggest that encounters are down again and could come in at around or under the 150,000 mark once the numbers are fully counted. Last February there were 166,000 migrant encounters.
However, hitting one million so early has some agents concerned that if numbers pick up again in the spring, as often happens, then it could bring yet more record-breaking numbers.
“Agents know leadership throughout the agency and the administration will celebrate two months of lower numbers instead of acknowledging the daunting task of being tasked at the border with yet another historical and preventable situation,” an agent told Fox News.
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The Biden administration this week announced a new rule that would automatically make illegal immigrants who passed through another country without claiming asylum ineligible for asylum in the U.S. That has sparked some pushback from left-wing activists and some Democrats, while immigration hawks have feared the loopholes will make it irrelevant.
The administration has been calling on Congress to pass sweeping immigration reform, including an amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S., and provide additional funding at the border.
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“America’s border problems won’t be fixed until Congress acts. If we won’t pass my comprehensive immigration reform, at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border. And a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farmworkers, and essential workers,” Biden said in State of the Union address to Congress.
Republicans held a hearing this week at the border in Yuma, Arizona, and visited El Paso, Texas, as they seek to showcase what they say is a border crisis caused by lax policies by the Biden administration.
Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., told “America’s Newsroom” on Saturday said the trip to Yuma, Arizona, showed her the impacts that the “failed policy” of the administration are having on Americans.
“We are dealing with a crisis down there and the Biden administration is only exacerbating it and making it worse every single day,” she said.
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