EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The year 2022 ended much like it started, when the number of migrant encounters shattered records at the U.S.-Mexico border, and Texas began busing migrants to cities like New York and Chicago.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the evening of Dec. 23 released its Monthly Operational Update for November 2022, which showed a new record for migrant encounters nationwide (283,189), the majority of which took place at the Southwest border (233,740).

The following night, Christmas Eve, Texas officials sent busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., and had them dropped near the home of Vice President Kamala Harris.

And with time winding down in 2022, the Supreme Court kept pandemic-era limits on asylum in place, at least temporarily, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to end Title 42.

Although immigration continues to dominate the headlines, Border Report’s most-viewed story for 2022 came ahead of a frightening weekend just south of the border in Tijuana.

Below are Border Report’s Top 10 stories of 2022:

10. Arrest of cartel leaders leads to shootouts, burning of vehicles in 2 Mexican states

Members of the National Guard stand guard near a bar where 12 people were killed by an armed group in Irapuato, state of Guanajuato, Mexico, on October 15, 2022. (Photo by MARIO ARMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The President of Mexico blamed the arrest of high-level cartel leaders for violence that included shootouts with police, the burning of cars and storefronts in the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato.

The violence prompted the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara to issue this alert: “Local authorities and media are reporting multiple road blockades, burning vehicles and shootouts between Mexican security forces and unspecified criminal elements in various parts of the Guadalajara metropolitan area. The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara has instructed employees to follow the advice of local authorities and shelter in place until further notice.”

9. El Paso residents near border say migrants are coming up to their homes asking for help

Migrants illegally cross into the U.S. via a hole in a fence in El Paso, Texas, on December 22, 2022. (Photo by ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)

An El Paso neighborhood next to the Border Highway saw a dramatic increase in migrants in December. Reporters witnessed a group of about 15 migrants climbing through a hole in the fence into a neighborhood off Fonseca Drive after running across the Cesar Chavez Border Highway, which runs along the U.S.-Mexico border from Downtown to El Paso’s Lower Valley.

8. 21 dead in ’84 McDonald’s massacre a distant memory for border community

A close-up of bullet hole-ridden windows from the McDonald’s Massacre in San Ysidro, California, when a man by the name of James Huberty mercilessly gunned down 20 people.

Like Uvalde, Texas, this year, all eyes were on San Ysidro, California, some 38 years ago when a lone gunman shot dozens of people inside a McDonald’s in the small community about a mile from the border.

Armed with several weapons, including an Uzi and a shotgun, James Huberty, 41, walked into the restaurant at 3:56 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, 1984, and went on a killing spree, reportedly telling his wife beforehand that he was going “hunting for humans.”

7. Texas-born drug lord ‘La Barbie’ no longer in U.S. custody, his whereabouts unknown

Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal is shown to the press during a news conference at the federal police center August 31, 2010 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images)

Drug trafficker Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie,” is no longer listed as being held by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Valdez was extradited to Georgia from Mexico seven years ago and had received a 49-year prison term after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and launder money.

He was also ordered to pay $192 million in restitution to the U.S. Government.

According to his sentencing documents, Valdez’s release date was set for July 27, 2057.

But inexplicably, he is no longer being held and is listed as “Not in BOP custody” in the Bureau of Prisons database.

6. Cartel member who dissolved hundreds of cadavers in acid gets more prison time

Santiago Meza López, known as the Pozolero, admitted to dissolving at least 300 bodies in acid while working for the Arellano Felix drug cartel in Tijuana. (Courtesy: Mexico’s District Attorney Office)

Santiago Meza López, who admitted to dissolving at least 300 bodies in acid for a Tijuana drug cartel, will have to remain in prison a while longer. Meza, 57, known as “El Pozolero,” or someone who makes pozole — a Mexican stew made with hominy, chicken, pork and vegetables — was told he was being denied a shot at freedom because he has yet to be sentenced for additional crimes.

5. Migrants hopping off Operation Lone Star buses ahead of their final destination

Operation Lone Star bus on its way from Del Rio, TX to Washington D.C. (NewsNation)

While the state of Texas has spent more than $12 million to send migrants to cities such as New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago, some migrants are bailing before the buses reach their final destination.

An inside look at migrant busing from the southern border

Migrants are given the choice of whether to get on the buses, and are allowed to get off anywhere and at any time.

*5. Migrant crossings plummet as Texas guard expands barbwire fence

A member of the Texas National Guard places barbed wire on the banks of the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, right across the border from Juarez, Mexico, on Dec. 20, 2022. (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Migrant crossings plummeted down a mile-long stretch of Downtown El Paso where the Texas Army National Guard set up concertina wire and portable fencing along the Rio Grande.

The guard began setting up the barrier in late December at a gap in the border wall west of the Paso del Norte port of entry. In the span of eight days, the barbed wire has nearly reached a second port of entry and a chain-link fence anchored by sandbags extends even farther. The result is that asylum-seekers can no longer walk across ankle-deep water in the Rio Grande and surrender to Border Patrol agents waiting in that area.

4. Government’s private border wall lawsuit inches closer to dismissal

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol boat in the Rio Grande moves along a privately funded border fence near Mission, Texas, Thursday, July 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

At the start of the year, the federal government’s 2-year-old lawsuit against the contractor of a private border wall built in South Texas was close to being resolved and could’ve been dismissed “within 60 days,” according to testimony given in federal court in McAllen.

The federal government in December 2019 filed a lawsuit against Fisher Industries and Fisher Sand and Gravel, which built the 3.5-mile section of wall on private farmlands along the Rio Grande. The farmer that gave up the riverfront land, and the nonprofit group We Build The Wall, an organization that crowdsourced to raise millions of dollars in private donations for the construction, also were originally part of the lawsuit.

3. Governor says Texas crowdsourcing for migrant bus fares to DC after being ‘overwhelmed’ by donations

Migrants seeking asylum arrive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early on December 16, 2022. Two buses from Texas with 86 migrants arrived at the 30th Street Station. (Photo by RYAN COLLERD/AFP via Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the state had been “overwhelmed” with people from across the country wanting to help bus migrants to Washington, D.C, and that is why they launched an online website to accept donations.

“As soon as the announcement was made we were overwhelmed with phone calls, with letters, with requests about people providing buses, people driving buses, people paying for buses and we got to thinking if people all across the country are so eager to participate in this then we should put a website link up and let them participate and as soon as we did that the donations have come in,” Abbott said during a visit to McAllen where he received an award for helping with broadband connectivity to students in the Rio Grande Valley.

2. Migrant encounters top 2 million in calendar year 2021, on pace for repeat in 2022

Immigrants walk towards transport buses at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico on August 14, 2021, in Roma, Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures show more than 200,000 people were apprehended at the border in July, the highest number in 21 years. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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.

1. Cartel threatens weekend of mass violence in all of Northern Baja

Firefighters work at the scene of a burnt collective transport vehicle after it was set on fire by unidentified individuals in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on August 12, 2022. Several vehicles were set on fire on August 12 in the city. (Photo by GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) sent a warning threatening mass violence against anyone roaming the streets the second weekend of August in cities throughout Northern Baja California.

The message in Spanish read: “Be warned. As of Friday at 10 p.m. through Sunday at 3 a.m. we’re going to create mayhem so the (expletive) government frees our people. We’re the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, we don’t want to hurt good people but it’s best they don’t go outside, we’re going to attack anyone we see on the streets on these days.”

*Editor’s note: This article has been updated to show that a story published on Dec. 27, 2022, was Border Report’s fifth most-viewed but was mistakenly left out of our top stories list. Here’s a link to that story: Migrant crossings plummet as Texas guard expands barbwire fence