Border Patrol agents apprehended nearly 210,000 illegal immigrants at the southern border in October, according to preliminary numbers obtained by the Federation for American Immigration Reform that show yet another rise in the level of chaos along the U.S.-Mexico boundary.
Agents tallied another 86,796 “known gotaways” — migrants that they spotted crossing, and know they weren’t able to apprehend. That’s believed to be the highest number ever detected and paints an even grimmer picture of what’s going on at the border.
In parts of Arizona, agents have reported missing roughly as many migrants as they managed to catch.
The 209,664 illegal border jumpers are up more than 30% compared to October 2021, when agents tallied 159,113 apprehensions. And it trounces the Trump years, when roughly 69,000 were caught in October 2020, and just 35,000 were nabbed in October 2019.
The numbers are labeled preliminary. Homeland Security usually waits until the middle of the month — or later — to release its data.
FAIR, which obtained the numbers, said voters deserved to see it now.
“Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas only releases border numbers extremely late because he doesn’t want the American people to see that he has created a lawless, greased-up turnstile into the United States. These are numbers the American people have a right to see in a timely manner, and we’re here to help,” said R.J. Hauman, director of government relations at FAIR.
He said a new Congress should demand accountability from the secretary.
“Secretary Mayorkas has actively undermined our national security while encouraging and facilitating the violation of laws he swore to uphold. The end result? The worst border crisis in American history,” Mr. Hauman said. “If he is not fired or forced to resign in shame, he must be brought up on impeachment charges in the next Congress.”
The Times has reached out to Customs and Border Protection for comment.
The border data showed agents tallied 27 dead migrants.
Rep. Chip Roy, Texas Republican, tweeted some of the numbers on Friday, pointing to a significant surge of migrants to the El Paso region of the border.
BREAKING, from border sources, in October:1) 86,000 gotaways, 2) 27 dead migrants (those found by @CBP), 3) over 209,000 encounters & still counting. Big news - movement of numbers toward El Paso - roughly 53K with over 20K gotaways. #StandUpForAmerica#BorderCrisis— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) November 4, 2022
Agents there reported catching 53,204 illegal border crossers and more than 20,000 others known to have evaded capture.
CBP released the September border numbers — which covered all of the fiscal year 2023 — just before midnight on Friday, Oct. 21.
Agents reported nabbing 207,597 illegal immigrants that month.
At the time, CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus insisted they were making progress after adopting one of the Trump administration’s get-tough approaches and applying it to Venezuelans, who had been surging across the border at unprecedented levels.
He said the approach, which combined Trump-style expulsions with a new program to welcome some Venezuelans legally, had cut numbers by 80% in the first week.
It’s not clear from the new numbers whether that trend continued.
The numbers also don’t reveal how many of the more than 200,000 people were caught and released into the U.S., though based on past trends the figure is likely to be more than half of those.
That’s in addition to the 86,796 gotaways.
Those are particularly worrisome to border agents because, unlike ones that are caught, the gotaways represent unknowns. Agents believe terrorism suspects, criminals and other high-value targets are among those sneaking through.
The Republican National Committee said Sunday that the nearly 87,000 new gotaways bring the total for the Biden administration to more than 1 million, dating back to January 2021.
The RNC said that level of lawlessness undercuts Democrats’ claims that the border is secure.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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