Border Patrol Reports Decline in Illegal Immigrant Encounters for April

Border Patrol Reports Decline in Illegal Immigrant Encounters for April
A group of migrants wait to be processed after crossing the Rio Grande river in El Paso, Texas on April 2, 2024. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The number of illegal immigrant encounters at the southern border declined more than six percent in April compared to a month prior, according to data published on Wednesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Border Patrol agents recorded 128,900 encounters—which includes people who presented themselves to agents at ports of entry—along the U.S.-Mexico border in April, the CBP data shows. That’s down from 137,480 in March and just over half of December’s record high of 249,737 encounters.

Overall, the number of illegal immigrants encountered between ports of entry along the southwest border was six percent lower than in March and 30 percent lower than in April 2023.

The decline—which marks the fourth lowest month of the Biden administration—will no doubt be welcomed by the White House as President Joe Biden seeks to shore up support ahead of the November elections, where he faces a tight race against former President Donald Trump.

Still, the data published Wednesday shows nationwide seizures of illicit drugs along the border continued to remain high, with seizures of cocaine skyrocketing by 95 percent in April compared to a month prior, while seizures of the synthetic opioid fentanyl soared to their highest levels in five years.

To date, in fiscal year 2024 through the end of April, CBP has seized over 11,400 pounds of fentanyl, the data shows.

“CBP has caught more fentanyl nationwide between the start of fiscal year 2023 through April 30, 2024, than in the previous five fiscal years combined, and we continue to optimize our intelligence and field operations to stop these deadly substances from reaching American communities,” CBP said.

San Diego Encounters Surge

Elsewhere, data showed the U.S. allowed 434,800 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans to lawfully enter the country and granted them parole after they arrived via commercial flights having applied online with a financial sponsor.

Specifically, 95,500 Cubans, 184,600 Haitians, 83,800 Nicaraguans, and 109,200 Venezuelans were vetted and authorized for travel; and 91,100 Cubans, 166,700 Haitians, 75,700 Nicaraguans, and 101,200 Venezuelans arrived lawfully and were granted parole through the end of April 2024, CBP said.

CBP agents also granted entry to approximately 41,400 individuals at the border through its phone appointment app known as CBP One in April, bringing the total to more than half a million since it was introduced in January 2023.

Separate data published earlier this month shows San Diego, California, experienced 37,370 encounters in April, making it the busiest of the Border Patrol’s nine sectors along the Mexican border for the first time since the 1990s.

Tuscan, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, followed closely behind with 31,219 and 30,393 encounters, respectively.

Senate leaders in San Diego this week took aim at President Biden’s “dangerous failures” when it comes to the border crisis and revealed the area has seen a 500 percent rise in Chinese migrants detained compared to last year.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) also criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

The border wall near San Diego
The border wall near San Diego, Calif., on May 31, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

CBP Touts Efforts to Disrupt Criminal Organizations

“Despite the invasion of illegal immigrants and a staggering $73 billion budget deficit, Governor Newsom and Democrat politicians are forging ahead with expanding free healthcare to all illegal immigrants in California—to the tune of $5 billion a year!” said Mr. Jones.

“Shameful and unacceptable! While Democrats slash funding to our kids’ schools, they exacerbate the immigration crisis with government handouts that we literally cannot afford,” he continued.

Still, Troy Miller, Customs and Border Protection’s acting commissioner, on Wednesday credited CBP’s work to secure the border and “disrupt the criminal organizations and transportation networks who are putting vulnerable migrants in danger while peddling lies and profiting from them.”

“We have executed the largest surge of removals and disruptive activities against human smuggling networks in the past decade,” CBP’s acting commissioner said.

Mr. Miller also noted that the agency is placing additional resources and extra personnel along impacted sectors of the border to ensure the “safe, swift, and orderly processing of individuals to maximize expedited removals.”

As a result of this increased enforcement, southwest border encounters have not increased, bucking previous trends, he said.

“We will remain vigilant to continually shifting migration patterns,” Mr. Miller continued. “We are still experiencing challenges along the borders and the nation’s immigration system is not appropriately resourced to handle them, so we continue to call on Congress to take action that would provide our personnel with additional resources and tools.”

According to CBP, since the lifting of the Trump-era Title 42 program in May 2023, agents with the Department of Homeland Security have removed or returned more than 720,000 individuals—the vast majority of whom crossed the southwest border— to their home countries, including more than 109,000 individual family members.

Total removals and returns since mid-May 2023 exceed removals and returns in every full fiscal year since 2011, CBP said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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