Big Border Encounter Numbers Don’t Tell Half the Story
A new government report sheds light on what’s happening with those millions of migrant “encounters” at the southern border. The numbers tell a story that goes far deeper than daily news reports, and is much more disturbing than what the Biden administration leaves the public to believe.
White House officials say they are working “to ramp up enforcement and personnel at the border,” yet the administration’s own statistics point to a deteriorating situation.
According to the House Judiciary Committee report, U.S. border agents encountered more than 5 million illegal aliens between Jan. 20, 2021, and March 31, 2023. Of those, at least 2,464,424 had no confirmed departure from the United States.
Southern border encounters surpassed 100,000 for the 31st straight month in August, and encounters swelled to more than 260,000 in September, an all-time record.
During this period, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released at least 2,148,738 illegal aliens into the country. A mere 5,993 encountered migrants placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge was actually removed from the U.S.
The Judiciary Committee report also confirmed that since President Biden took office more than 1.7 million known “gotaways” (migrants observed unlawfully entering the U.S., but not apprehended) have evaded Border Patrol and escaped into the United States. An unknown number of migrants – likely many – have also entered the country undetected.
A White House spokesman blithely dismissed the House report as “full of lies.” In a statement, the official said that since May 12, when the Title 42 public health order was lifted, nearly 300,000 migrants were “removed or released” (“released” being the operative term here). The administration says there have been more than 3.6 million repatriations and expulsions since January 2021, but it did not disclose the actual number of illegal entries.
When migrants are released into the United States, processing of their cases can take up to eight years. Though DHS considered a rule to speed up processing by allowing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers to adjudicate asylum claims, that proposal was indefinitely paused earlier this year.
Instead, the administration launched a jerry-rigged parole program to admit ever more migrants. Originally intended to admit individuals with specific circumstances, or deemed to be a “significant public benefit,” on a case-by-case basis, parole under this administration has expanded to unprecedented levels, sidestepping customary asylum laws and congressional authority.
Even the open-borders Migration Policy Institute (MPI) sees parole for what it is: a scheme to “channel more migrants through the system.” Admitting an estimated 1.4 million inadmissible aliens into the country via an extra-legal program that obscures real border-crossing numbers is indeed a strange and disingenuous way to “ramp up enforcement.”
These are things to take into account when the next monthly “encounter” tally comes out.