EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – U.S. authorities stopped another 178,840 unauthorized migrants at the southern border in December, a 2 percent increase over the previous month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures now show that more than 2 million unauthorized migrants came across the Mexican border in the calendar year and were apprehended or turned themselves in – in addition to those not stopped or detected.

The latest figures come amid accusations from Republicans that the Biden administration somehow propitiated the mass migration and hasn’t done enough to stem it. They also come amid an outcry from advocates unhappy with the hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers and economic migrants being summarily expelled under the Title 42 public health order to prevent cross-border spread of COVID-19.

However, the December figures show only 44 percent of the encounters resulted in Title 42 expulsion (78,589), compared to 100,251 processed under Title 8, which may or may not result in detention.

CBP said less than 20 percent of all family unit members were expelled under Title 42 in December. Fifteen percent more family units came across the border last month than in November, but the number of unaccompanied minors fell by 14 percent. The agency said only 252 minors were in its custody on an average day in December, compared to 926 in November.

The numbers show 496,148 migrant encounters in the past three months – the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. That’s a 137 percent increase over October-December 2021, when border agents encountered 209,342 migrants.

Migrant encounters by U.S. Border Patrol sector in from October to December 2021 (CBP graphic)

The Rio Grande Valley Sector saw the largest number of apprehensions in December, with 137,239, followed by Del Rio with 91,621, Yuma (Arizona) with 74,238, Tucson (Arizona) with 56,464 and El Paso with 49,012.

When it comes to narcotics seized at the border, heroin seizures were up 113 percent, cocaine seizures increased 28 percent; methamphetamines and fentanyl seizures were down 59 and 51 percent, respectively.