Biden Administration Claims Credit for Reducing Illegal Migration Even Though the Numbers Actually Went Up
The 19th century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is credited with saying, “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damnable lies, and statistics.” It’s unlikely he had the 21st century Biden administration in mind when he made that quip, but it would certainly apply.
In 2023, the Biden administration is struggling mightily to maintain a policy intentionally designed to create de facto open borders, while trying to convince the American public, which overwhelmingly wants the borders controlled, that they are doing just that. So, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency released data for March 2023, their press release claimed credit for a significant reduction in border encounters (162,317) relative to March 2022 (211,181). “Overall, in March, encounters of individuals on the Southwest border between ports of entry were down 23% from the prior year, as we continue to respond to the challenges presented by increasing global migration,” crowed Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller. Encounters between ports of entry are the responsibility of the Border Patrol.
This is where the Disraeli disclaimer kicks in. Nowhere in CBP’s press release does the figure 257,910 appear. That is the total number of migrants who were encountered by agencies under CBP that are charged with enforcing U.S. immigration laws. Most of those 95,593 additional encounters were racked up by the Office of Field Operations (OFO), which deals with inadmissible migrants who are attempting to enter the United States at land, air and sea ports of entry.
OFO has seen dramatic increases in encounters in recent months, owing to new Biden administration policies that allow a growing number of inadmissible migrants to enter the United States under vastly expanded (and illegal) use of humanitarian parole. The authority to parole foreign nationals into the United States is statutorily defined, and is supposed to be used only on a “case-by-case” basis and under extenuating circumstances. Nevertheless, the Biden administration is using this authority to fly 30,000 migrants a month, from four nations, to the U.S. They are also admitting thousands more from all over the world at land ports of entry who schedule an appointment using a phone app designed by CBP.
OFO encounters grew from 241,786 in FY 2020 (the last full year of the Trump administration) to 551,930 in FY 2022. At the halfway point of FY 2023, OFO had already recorded 478,573, which puts that agency on pace for more than 957,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
Thus, it turns out that the 23 percent reduction in encounters by the Border Patrol, between March 2022 and March 2023, is more than offset by the increase in OFO encounters. In fact, the 257,910 combined encounters this year, is about 3 percent more than the combined 250,404 encounters recorded a year ago.
Somewhere, Benjamin Disraeli is feeling vindicated.