McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Republicans on the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday issued a report analyzing last year’s migrant encounters on the Southwest border, calling it a “border crisis.”
The “Startling Stats” report calls Fiscal Year 2023 migrant encounters on the U.S.-Mexico border as “catastrophic,” and says it is “worst on record.”
The report is based on fiscal year-end and monthly migrant statistics that were sent Saturday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Migrant encounters on the Southwest border in Fiscal 2023 were the most ever recorded by CBP with 2.48 million, up 40% from Fiscal 2021, and up 4% from Fiscal 2022, according to CBP data.
“Since President Biden took office, there have been 7.5 million encounters nationwide and 6.2 million encounters at the Southwest border, in addition to 1.7 million known gotaways who evaded U.S. Border Patrol,” the Homeland Security GOP report says.
September had 269,735 encounters on the Southwest border “marking another unprecedented milestone under Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Joe Biden’s open-border policies,” a statement by Republicans on the committee issued Thursday said.
“These numbers demonstrate beyond a doubt that Secretary Mayorkas’ refusal to enforce the law and secure our border is jeopardizing our safety and security,” Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, of Tennessee, said.
In releasing the data, CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said, “In response to high rates of encounters across the southwest border in September, CBP surged resources and personnel. We are continually engaging with domestic and foreign partners to address historic hemispheric migration, including large migrant groups traveling on freight trains, and to enforce consequences including by preparing for direct repatriations to Venezuela.”
The first deportation flight to Venezuela in several years took off from South Texas last week in Harlingen carrying 130 asylum-seekers, DHS officials said.
The report also noted that total CBP fentanyl seizures in Fiscal 2023 increased 88% from Fiscal 2022.
On Thursday, Mayorkas said DHS has “stopped more fentanyl in the last two years than in the previous five years combined and continue to optimize our intelligence and field operations to stop these deadly substances from hitting our streets.”
Miller was in southern California on Thursday where he announced DHS was launching a new strategy to stop fentanyl from entering the United States, and to prevent drug precursors from crossing the border.
The GOP Homeland Security report states federal officials estimate they are only able to seize up to 10% of all illegal drugs smuggled across the Southwest border.
The GOP report also noted:
- Encounters by the Office of Field Operations in September increased 155% from September 2022.
- In Fiscal 2023, there were 169 individuals whose names were on the terrorist watchlist who were stopped trying to cross the U.S/Mexico border in between legal ports of entry; 18 were apprehended in September.
- The number of individuals apprehended from the terrorist watch list increased 72% in Fiscal 2023 from Fiscal 2022.
- Over 240,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans were granted parole in Fiscal 2023 at U.S. ports of entry.
The 18 Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this week also reported they had received information from DHS showing that 95% of asylum-seekers who scheduled appointments through the CBP One app from Jan. 12 through Sept. 30, were issued a Notice to Appear in U.S. immigration court and allowed to enter the United States on parole.
The data released to the committee said out of 278,431 appointments scheduled, 266,846 of the individuals were allowed to legally enter the United States.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.