Illegal crossings on US-Mexico border hit new record – officials
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended a record 269,735 illegal immigrants along the US-Mexico border in September, the agency confirmed in a report on Saturday. The total exceeds the previous record set in May 2022.
Fiscal year 2023 also set an all-time record for illegal immigration into the US, with 2.47 million recorded migrant encounters exceeding even 2022’s record-setting 2.3 million, according to government figures.
A total of 169 migrants stopped by CBP were listed on the US’ Terrorist Screening Dataset in 2023, nearly twice as many as the previous year. Fentanyl seizures at the border nearly doubled, from 14,600 pounds (around 6,600kg) to 27,000 (just over 12,000kg). Some 15,267 “criminal noncitizens” were stopped in total.
In addition to the record amount of illegal immigration, CBP processed about 43,000 asylum-seekers in 2023 via the cellphone app it rolled out in January with the intention of speeding up the application process. Another 240,000 new arrivals hailing from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti crossed the border legally this year under US President Joe Biden’s new “parole” system, established last year to streamline the arrival of migrants fleeing countries whose governments Washington considers unfriendly.
Migrant encounters finally began to decline in the first two weeks of October, according to CBP, which reported a 20% decline over this period. The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have also stepped up removals of failed asylum seekers and other unauthorized individuals in recent months, with over 300,000 people shown the door since May.
In Saturday’s report, CBP included a “simple” message addressed to “anyone who is thinking of entering the United States illegally along the southwest border,” warning: “Don’t do it. When noncitizens cross the border unlawfully, they put their lives in peril.” Agents claimed to have rescued 4,633 migrants “in distress” in September alone, a 44% increase over the previous month.
Critics have accused the Biden administration of maintaining an open-borders policy, blaming its reversal of predecessor Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown for an unprecedented 16% uptick in the number of foreign nationals illegally living in the country.
So-called “sanctuary cities” such as New York that previously swore off enforcing immigration laws have floundered under the increased burden of tens of thousands of new arrivals being deposited on their doorstep by the bus- or planeload. Meanwhile, the Republican governors of border states already overrun by illegals demand the federal government address the issue.
However, local governments’ pleas for help from the Biden administration have gone largely unanswered, forcing hundreds of cities, towns, and even states to declare emergencies over the sprawling humanitarian crisis unfolding in their streets.