CPB data shows nationwide illegal migrant encounters skyrocket almost 300% since 2020
Nationwide encounters of illegal migrants in FY2022 under Biden were the highest since FY2020, Trump's last fiscal year in office, and FY2023 is on track to set a new record high across all borders.
U.S. Customers and Border Protection's "nationwide encounters" of illegal migrants have gone up almost 300% since 2020, which was former President Trump's last fiscal year in office, according to a Just the News review of the latest CBP data.
Nationwide encounters of illegal migrants in FY2022 were 2.7 million, the highest total since FY2020, when nationwide encounters stood at 646,000.
Since President Biden took office, nationwide encounters have surged. This year's nationwide encounters of 2.5 million are on pace to surpass FY2022 with two months left in the fiscal year. In July of this year, CBP reported 245,286 nationwide encounters, up from 238,929 last July.
The southern border alone accounted for the majority of the July 2023 nationwide encounters at 183,503, which represented about a 27% increase from June 2023 at 144,566, according to the CBP's operational update statistics.
CBP started tracking and publicly releasing monthly nationwide encounters data in FY2020, according to a CBP official. Prior to that, CBP publicly reported monthly "apprehensions" of migrants at the southern border and northern border by U.S. Border Patrol.
CBP currently defines nationwide encounters as "the sum of CBP encounters across all areas of responsibility including Northern Land Border, Southwest Land Border, Office of Field Operations (OFO) non-land border ports of entry (e.g., airports, seaports), and USBP sectors that do not share a land border with Canada or Mexico."
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told Just the News on Tuesday that the spike in OFO encounters at land ports of entry are driving the number of nationwide encounters to new highs this year since the implementation of the CBP One smartphone application. That app allows migrants to schedule asylum appointments in the post-Title 42 era. Title 42 was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"People coming in between the ports of entry that get arrested by the Border Patrol, they jumped hugely, and the number of people being illegally released at ports of entry also jumped hugely," Krikorian said.
"So this strategy of relabeling illegal immigration as quote, legal, because it's coming through ports of entry, is failing on its own terms," he added. "The number of inadmissible aliens coming through both avenues increased significantly in July, and there was a big increase in family units, people bringing kids with them."
Krikorian also said the Biden Administration claimed that migrants without CBP One appointments who are caught in between land ports of entry would not be able to claim asylum unless they had children with them.
"So guess what?" he said. "A huge increase in people bringing kids with them who were all let go. I mean, I don't know what the administration thought was going to happen," he said. "This is just the result of wishful thinking on the part of this administration."
In FY2020, OFO encounters at the southern border were 57,423. So far into FY2023, the total is 327,015 as of July. In FY2020, OFO encounters at the northern border were 32,376 and so far in FY2023, the total is 150,743.
CBP describes the smartphone app as a "safe, orderly and humane" tool for migrants. According to a CBP official, the app is used only for scheduling purposes and does not vet migrants before issuing an appointment.
Immigrant rights groups have sued the Biden Administration over its use of the smartphone app, which they describe as a barrier to claiming asylum.
Krikorian argues that the app allows migrants to "schedule their illegal immigration." He said the same migrants using the app now would have been counted as a U.S. Border Patrol encounter prior to its implementation. Now, migrants with app appointments are counted as an OFO encounter at a port of entry.
"What does orderly mean? They want to make illegal immigration more orderly? Well, I don't care whether it's orderly or not. How about we not have it?" said Krikorian, referring to illegal entry.
The office of California Rep. Darrell Issa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which held an oversight hearing with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in July, reacted to the rise in nationwide encounters.
“Rep. Issa believes Secretary Mayorkas has broken every promise or pledge he’s made — except for his obvious commitment to opening America’s borders and making a mockery of our immigration laws,” his spokesperson told Just the News. “Every assurance he’s given to do his job the right way was insincere or worse. He’s the worst DHS Secretary in history - all the more so because his record of relentless failure was intentional.”