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What January’s Falling Border Encounters Total Really Means

author Published by Chris Pierce

The White House was quick to champion the ‘drastic fall’ in alien apprehensions at the southwest U.S. border during January, continuing to gloss over historical monthly norms while doing whatever they could to hide the true scope of the Biden Border Crisis.

Customs and Border Protection recently released its latest statistics on aliens encountered along the southern border, showing 156,274 total encounters between Border Patrol and Offices of Field Operations in January, the historically slowest border-travel month of the year.

Border Patrol agents apprehended 128,410 aliens illegally crossing the southern border, while OFO encountered another 27,864 inadmissible aliens at America’s ports of entry.

Comparing these January totals to those recorded in the previous Januaries shows that illegal alien encounters are still at an all-time high. This understanding, in addition to Biden’s stark lack of action in disincentivizing more illegal immigration, proves that when it comes to the ongoing border crisis – the Biden administration is only doing better compared to its own dismal track record.

For context, Border Patrol has not apprehended less than 148,000 aliens along the southern border since February 2021; in January 2023, Border Patrol apprehended 128,410 aliens. “By that standard, the Biden administration did well last month. But only by that standard,” states Art Arthur, a former immigration judge and current Resident Fellow in Law and Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Mr. Arthur continues in his recent CIS blog:

Between April 2006 (when agents nabbed just short of 161,000 illegal migrants) and February 2021, apprehensions exceeded 128,000 in just one month: May 2019, when agents stopped fewer than 133,000 aliens who had crossed the border illegally.

In other words, there were only 3.4 percent fewer apprehensions last month than in the worst month for apprehensions at the Southwest border in the 13-year period between May 2006 and May 2019.

Nevertheless, January’s illegal alien encounters were 178% higher than January’s average in the past nine years. Between FY 2014 and FY 2022, the month of January averaged 56,164 illegal alien encounters along the southern border; 156,274 aliens were encountered in January 2023.

Of course, seeking to show drastic improvement along the southern border, the Biden Administration ignored this same-month comparison and touted some of its new immigration policies as the reason for the drop in January apprehensions and total encounters.

Two policies highlighted by CBP were proposals adopted by the administration to handle the surge of migrants expected after the reversal of Title 42 – a CDC public health order eventually kept in place by the courts.

One of the aforementioned proposals was an extension of a Venezuelan parole program that will now apply to Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba, allowing 30,000 nationals of those countries to enter the United States legally and be rewarded with work permits and a two-year parole period. In exchange, any Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Haitian, or Cuban nationals caught trying to cross the border illegally will be automatically turned away.

The second proposal was to allow illegal aliens access to the CBP One app, allowing them to schedule appointments for interviews with CBP at the ports of entry.

Mr. Arthur explains:

The administration hasn’t provided a lot of information about how those CBP One entries will work, but after plowing through various court filings and disclosures, it appears that it is a continuation of a process by which NGOs forwarded the names of migrants who “meet certain vulnerability criteria” (undefined) to CBP for interviews at the ports to seek exemptions from Title 42 expulsion.

Instead of NGOs scheduling appointments at the ports for those interviews, the would-be migrants themselves will now be able to do it through CBP One.

DHS has only recorded inadmissible encounters at CBP’s Offices of Field Operations (ports of entry) for less than seven years. Although the first OFO inadmissibility statistic was recorded in October 2016, between then and April 2022, inadmissible aliens encountered at ports of entry exceeded 20,000 just once.

However, in April 2022, “CBP officers encountered more than 32,000 inadmissible aliens at the ports along the U.S.-Mexico line, and since then, officers have encountered more than 237,000 inadmissible port migrants. That is a 37 percent increase over FY 2022’s annual totals, a 214 percent jump from FY 2021, and a 312 percent climb from FY 2020 — all in the last 10 months,” reports Mr. Arthur.

Through this analysis, Mr. Arthur concludes that in order to attain its goal of importing as many foreign nationals into the U.S. as possible, despite the national will or impact it may have on Americans, the administration is simply moving would-be illegal aliens through ports of entry rather than waiting for them to attempt an illegal crossing along the southern border.

Mr. Arthur concludes his blog:

While Border Patrol Southwest border apprehensions declined in January — traditionally the slowest month for illegal entries — the administration’s border performance only improved compared to how historically bad it was up to this point. When assessed in toto, CBP’s statistics for last month suggest what many have assumed for a while: Biden isn’t really interested in securing the Southwest border, but he’s doing his best to hide the scope of the ensuing disaster.

Please visit the Center for Immigration Studies website for the full analysis, including an in-depth history of policy applications and reversals that has led to this unmitigated disaster at the southern border.

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