by Bethany Blankley
More than 2 million people have been encountered/apprehended at the U.S. southern border in fiscal 2022 through June, according to official data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It’s the greatest number recorded in a fiscal year in U.S. history. They total 2,002,604 from over 150 countries.
In June, a record 207,416 people were apprehended, the highest number recorded in June in the history of the Department of Homeland Security.
The fiscal year ends September 30.
The total includes those apprehended and encountered by U.S. Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations staff. They exclude gotaways first reported by The Center Square, which includes at least another 50,009 people.
The total for June, including gotaways, was 257,425, a record high for the month.
“Gotaways” is the official term used by Border Patrol to describe foreign nationals who enter the U.S. illegally and don’t surrender at ports of entry but intentionally seek to evade capture from law enforcement. They are currently in the U.S. and no one in law enforcement knows who or where they are.
The last time encounters were nearly this high was the last summer of the presidency of Bill Clinton. In June 2000, 117,469 people were encountered/apprehended at the southern border, excluding gotaways.
In May, CBP reported the highest monthly total of apprehensions at the southern border in recorded U.S. history of 239,416, excluding another minimum 70,793 recorded gotaways.
In April, CBP reported 235,478 total encounters/apprehensions; in March, 222,239; in February, 165,902; in January, 154,816. The totals all exclude gotaway data.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said the June numbers represent a 14% decrease in encounters compared to May.
“We are committed to implementing our strategy of reducing irregular migration, dissuading migrants from undertaking the dangerous journey, and increasing enforcement efforts against human smuggling organizations,” Magnus said. “We continue to rescue and provide medical assistance to those who are in distress.”
And to those coming to the country illegally, he said, “My message to those considering taking this dangerous journey is simple: this is not an easy passage, the human smugglers only care about your money – not your life or the lives of your loved ones, and you will be placed in removal proceedings from the United States if you cross the border without legal authorization and are unable to establish a legal basis to remain.”
The overwhelming majority of those apprehended in June – 68% – were single adults totaling 140,197.
CBP says 44% of all adult encounters and 27% of family unit individuals were processed for expulsion under the public health authority, Title 42. Unaccompanied minors are not processed for expulsion.
The number of unaccompanied children brought to the U.S. by alleged smugglers increased by 4%, totaling 15,271.
In June, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 752 a day compared to 692 a day in May.
Despite a record number of people coming to the southern border, CBP says it “continues to enforce U.S. immigration law and apply consequences to those without a legal basis to remain in the U.S.
“Current restrictions at the U.S. border have not changed; single adults and families encountered at the southwest border will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under CDC’s Title 42 Order. Those who are not expelled will be processed under the long-standing Title 8 authority and placed into removal proceedings.”
But this isn’t what’s happening, Republican governors and attorneys general nationwide argue. This week, 19 AGs filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit filed by Texas and Louisiana. The lawsuit was filed in response to a directive issued by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that drastically altered deportation policy, which the states argue contradicts federal law established by Congress and allows more people to stay in the U.S. illegally, including violent criminals.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis implemented a range of policies to combat what he describes as the “Biden border crisis,” including suing over the Biden administration’s “catch and release” and other programs. Texas and Missouri have sued the administration over several border security issues, including halting border wall construction and reimplementing an Obama-era program allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country.
Texas and Arizona also have implemented a range of border security measures costing their states’ taxpayers a combined multiple billions of dollars to thwart criminal activity stemming from the southern border. And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says his state’s law enforcement officials have confiscated enough fentanyl to kill nearly every man, woman and child in the U.S., which is brought into Texas illegally from Mexico.
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Bethany Blankley is a regular contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “U.S. Border Patrol Agents Assigned to the McAllen Border Patrol Station Encounter a Large Group of Migrants” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.