Federal agents apprehended 234,088 people last month entering the U.S. illegally, the greatest number in a single month in recorded U.S. history.
While CBP wasn’t formed until after 9/11 (combining existing agencies into one), U.S. Border Patrol was created in 1924. Until the Biden administration, federal agents have never reported encountering so many people entering the United States illegally in the country’s history.
The April numbers represent a 1,376 percent increase from those encountered in April 2020, when 17,106 border encounters occurred under the Trump administration.
Last month, at least 117,989 illegal immigrants were released into the United States. A reported 113,248 were removed, including 96,908 expelled under Title 42, according to the data.
“Biden’s Border Crisis continues its record breaking pace,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “Americans can clearly see that Title 42 is working to stop the deluge, but Biden is intent on ending it. I’ll keep fighting to secure our borders.”
The official numbers are slightly higher than the preliminary numbers first reported by The Center Square last week of 211,972, which only included Border Patrol data. CBP data released Tuesday includes Office of Field Operation data, which accounts for the increase.
However, CBP excludes “got away” data, the known and reported number of people who entered the United States illegally and evaded capture. Last month, there were between 58,000 and 71,000 “got aways,” according to estimates provided by a Border Patrol agent to The Center Square. Tens of thousands of “got aways” are also reported every month but not published publicly.
More than 1 million are estimated to already be in the United States illegally during President Joe Biden’s first year in office.
Under the Biden administration, the majority encountered are single adults, CBP data show. In fiscal year 2021, there were 1.1 million, accounting for 63.75 percent of all encounters. So far in fiscal 2022, there have been more than 917,000 single adults encountered, accounting for nearly 71 percent of total encounters.
Likewise, a record number of unaccompanied single minors/children have been encountered under the Biden administration. In fiscal 2021, CBP reported encountering 146,925 minors; in fiscal 2022 so far, its reported encountering 290,995 unaccompanied single minors/children.
Minors are not deported under Title 42. The majority are not deported under Title 8. Instead, federal agencies work with organizations to find sponsors or family members to house them and transport them throughout the United States. The Biden administration last year acknowledged losing track of a significant number.
The majority of unaccompanied minors, law enforcement officials have told The Center Square, are boys/men who appear to be of military age claiming to be 16 or 17 years old. It’s difficult for Border Patrol agents to determine their real identity, country of origin, and actual age, law enforcement officials have explained.
Despite the record high numbers, CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said, “The fact is that our borders are not open, and we will continue to remove those who enter our country unlawfully and have no legal basis to stay.”
The administration is also forging ahead to end Title 42 on Monday, the public health authority that allows federal agents to quickly expel illegal immigrants during a pandemic.
“While we will likely see an increase in encounters after” after it ends, “I have a great degree of confidence that the dedicated men and women of CBP and our multiple agency partners will meet this challenge,” Magnus said in a statement.
“After many months of planning, we are executing a comprehensive strategy to safely, orderly, and humanely manage our borders,” he added. “CBP is surging personnel and resources to the border, increasing processing capacity, securing more ground and air transportation, and increasing medical supplies, food, water, and other resources to ensure a humane environment for those being processed, screened, and vetted.”
CBP appears to be reporting data differently than it did prior to Magnus leading the agency.
While the data show 234,088 encounters, in a statement, he said the number of unique encounters last month was really 157,555, a 2 percent decrease from March.
“Since many people expelled into Mexico under Title 42 try to reenter the U.S., Title 42 has contributed to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border,” he said.
He also claims Border Patrol agents only encountered 201,800 illegal immigrants at the southwest border last month, also a 4 percent decrease from March.
But Border Patrol agents from across the southern border, from Texas to California, have told The Center Square they’ve never seen so many people flooding the southern border in their decades-long career. So far, people have entered the United States illegally from over 150 countries, according to CBP data—also a record—including those on the federal terrorist watch list.
By Bethany Blankley