Migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border surpassed 1 million for the first five months of fiscal year 2023, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics released Wednesday.
CBP encountered more than 154,000 migrants at the southern border in February, putting the total migrant encounters for the latest fiscal year at 1,029,953, according to the agency. In fiscal year 2022, CBP encountered more than 2.3 million migrants at the southern border.
The agency also recorded more than 1.7 million at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021 and roughly 458,000 in fiscal year 2020.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks “operational control” of the southern border during a congressional hearing.
“Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green asked Ortiz in the hearing.
“No, sir,” Ortiz responded.
Ortiz also testified that there’s been more than 385,000 migrants that have evaded federal authorities along the southern border between October 2022 and February 2023.
“We continue to refine that number. I’ve got to do a better job of accounting for the actual encounters,” Ortiz said in response to questions posed by Republican Florida Rep. Carlos Gimenez, adding that the number is likely about 10-20% more than what has been detected.
To mitigate the influx, President Joe Biden expanded Title 42, the Trump-era public health order used to quickly expel certain illegal migrants, to apply to Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians. Biden also provided legal pathways for Title 42 exemptions that’s allowed over 20,000 migrants into the country and for humanitarian parole at airports.
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