The number of migrant encounters at the southern border this fiscal year has now exceeded two million, sources tell Fox News — a number that marks a new record, as well as a glaring sign of the enormous and ongoing crisis facing agents, officials and communities at the border.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Monday that there were 199,976 migrant encounters in July, taking the total so far this fiscal year to 1.946 million encounters.
CBP sources tell Fox that since then, that numbers have now surpassed the two million mark, a milestone not hit before at the border. Last year, in a record-setting year that saw more than 1.7 million encounters, agents had made approximately 1.2 million encounters at this time.
The migrant crisis escalated around the time the Biden administration took office, jumping from around 72,000 encounters at the end of 2020 to 173,000 by March 2021. The numbers have not come close to dipping below the 150,000 encounters-a-month mark since then.
Most recently there were four months of 200,000+ apprehensions, and only just dipped by a few dozen under that number in July.
The Biden administration has noted that the number of encounters is inflated by recidivism due to Title 42 expulsions — whereby migrants who are quickly expelled under the order often make multiple crossing attempts. The administration has sought to end the order, implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has so far been blocked by a court order. There were 162,792 unique encounters in July.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus has also noted that July’s numbers are the second consecutive month of decline, albeit slight.
“July marked the second month of decreased encounters along the Southwest border—the first two-month drop since October 2021,” he said in a statement. “We continue to take action to reduce irregular migration and dismantle the human smuggling operations that put migrants in danger.”
The border crisis has been a constant headache for both the Biden administration and for officials and communities at the border. Texas and Arizona have recently started moving migrants to Washington D.C. and New York City in protest of the Biden administration’s policies.
Republicans have blamed the Biden administration for rolling back Trump-era policies such as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, which kept migrants in Mexico rather than releasing them into the U.S. The administration was recently given the green light to end that policy after a lengthy court battle.
It has also stopped wall construction and has sought to significantly narrow interior immigration enforcement – but has also been blocked from doing so by a legal challenge going through the courts.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has pointed to the regional nature of the crisis and has sought to tackle root causes like poverty and corruption in Central America. The administration has recently sought to slash asylum processing times with a new rule and has touted new immigration commitments after the Summit of the Americas, including a smuggling crackdown.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently claimed that the border is “secure” — a claim which FBI Director Christopher Wray declined to endorse. Instead, he described “significant security issues” present at the border.