Investigative Group

EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Migrant Encounters At The Southern Border Surpass 547,000 In Less Than Three Months

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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Border Patrol encounters of migrants crossing the southern border illegally surpassed 547,000 less than three months into fiscal year 2024, according to preliminary internal data obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The number of encounters, which reached 547,593 on Thursday morning, is higher than the number of encounters recorded in the first three months of any fiscal year before President Joe Biden took office, according to federal data going back to 1999. Between October and December 2022, Border Patrol recorded 634,832 encounters of illegal migrants, according to federal data. (RELATED: Feds Raise Concerns Over New Pathway Fueling Migrant Crisis)

Internal federal data obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Internal federal data obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Border Patrol recorded 153,613 encounters during the first three months of fiscal year 2019, and 101,779 encounters during that same time period in fiscal year 2020, according to federal data. It recorded 209,342 encounters between October and December in fiscal year 2021 and 496,730 encounters those same months in fiscal year 2022.

As of early Thursday, Border Patrol had more than 24,000 illegal migrants in custody nationwide, according to the data, which showed that three sectors of the southern border, Del Rio, Rio Grande Valley and Tucson, exceeded holding capacity. On Wednesday, Border Patrol had released 8,388 illegal migrants into the country.

The Del Rio sector of Texas, which encompasses Eagle Pass, exceeded 190% capacity, according to the data.

Border Patrol had more than 23,000 migrants in custody as of Tuesday evening after releasing more than 6,000 others from custody and into the country.

“The encounter levels we are currently seeing across the southwest border are presenting a serious challenge to the men and women of CBP. To meet this challenge, we are using all available resources to ensure the safety and security of our agents and officers, and the migrants who are often misled and victimized by the transnational criminal organizations,” Troy A. Miller, senior official performing the duties of the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said in a statement to the DCNF on Wednesday.

“These smugglers are recklessly putting migrants into harm’s way: in remote locations across the border, onto the tops of trains, or into the waters of the Rio Grande River,” Miller added. “We continue to go after the smugglers and are implementing new measures to impose consequences on transportation companies including bus and van lines used by smuggling organizations and nefarious actors to move migrants through northern Mexico and to our southwest border. CBP and our federal partners need additional funding from Congress so that we can continue to effectuate consequences for those who do not use the established pathways.”

CBP closed several ports of entry and railways in San Ysidro, California, Lukeville, Arizona and El Paso and Eagle Pass, Texas, allowing 100 Office of Field Operations employees as well as law enforcement personnel from other agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons, to help Border Patrol, an agency spokesperson told the DCNF.

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