Feds Log Record Number of Migrant Encounters

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent detains an unlawful migrant | Image by U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Facebook

September proved to be a busy month for law enforcement agents guarding the southern border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released data on the number of unlawful migrant encounters clocked last month. The agency reported there was a total of 269,735 encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The figure broke the record for the most unlawful migrant encounters logged in a single month since 2000, with the second highest month recorded in December 2022 with 252,315 encounters.

Although September broke the record, encounters have remained high throughout the year, with at least 150,000 reported each month of fiscal year 2023.

September ended fiscal year 2023, which also posted a record-high number of encounters for a single year with about 2,48 million.

The previous record for unlawful migrant encounters in a single fiscal year was reached in 2022, with CBP reporting a total of roughly 2.47 million at the southern border.

Noting in a statement that CBP had mobilized both personnel and resources in response to the record level of encounters, Troy A. Miller, a senior official performing the duties of the CBP commissioner, outlined a few agency response strategies.

Miller said CBP was “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.”

He concluded by saying the department “will continue to remain vigilant, making operational adjustments as necessary and enforcing consequences under U.S. immigration law.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been critical of President Joe Biden’s border policies, claiming on Fox News’ The Sean Hannity Show that he has “never seen a President flout the laws of the United States as much as Joe Biden.”

“We have a president who is an obstructionist to Texas, which is trying to do our best to impede the flow of illegal immigrants by us building our own border wall, by us putting up these razor wire barriers and not allowing people to pass, by deploying the National Guard to make sure we repel migrants who are trying to get into the country,” said Abbott.

In an attempt to manage the high number of unlawful migrants entering the United States through the Texas-Mexico border, Abbott requested an additional $1.5 billion to help build the border wall during the most recent special session.

The request prompted Rep. Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond) to file a bill that would authorize the funding and designate it for “the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Jetton said the bill was necessary since “[w]e have to make sure that we’re protecting our borders,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

“We need to deploy every tool that we have in the toolbox, and the border wall is one that has been deemed effective,” he added.

Despite support from Republican lawmakers in Texas, some Democrats have presented concerns about the bill.

“What’s the purpose of the state stepping in to spend $1.5 billion of our money when it could be used for public schools, it could be used for teacher pay, it could be used for mental health treatment?” asked Rep. Evelina Ortega (D-El Paso), according to the DMN.

On Monday, the bill passed through the House Appropriations Committee in a 14-9 vote, with the full House expected to discuss the bill soon.

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