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Almost 154k Southwest Border Crossings in January, Highest in Over 20 Years

February 23, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

According to the latest data released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), law enforcement encountered nearly 154,000 illegal immigrants crossing the Southwest border. This number doesn’t include those illegal immigrants who evaded apprehension, known as “gotaways”: different than those who evade encounters entirely, or go through the catch-and-release process.

According to CBP data obtained through Border Patrol and by Townhall, CNN, and The Washington Post compiled by the Republican National Committee (RNC), over 504,600 estimated gotaways have occurred since President Joe Biden was sworn in. Former and current border officials clarified that those estimates are conservative. National Border Patrol Council’s Rio Grande Valley Chapter Vice President and Spokesman Chris Cabrera told Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that the actual number of gotaways is likely “twice, if not three times” the Biden Administration’s November estimate of around 400,000 — which would be around 1.2 million.

Border officials’ projections of illegal immigrant numbers dwarfing the Biden Administration’s reports are supported by the symptoms felt by Arizona’s communities: overcrowded detention centers, frequent apprehensions of violent criminals, crops destroyed, and covert migrant shelter operations housed next door.

As evidenced by the CBP chart “Southwest Land Border Encounters by Month,” encounters remain far above those over the last three years. Unlike the last three years, however, there’s been a sharp downturn in encounters from December to January. Similar sharp downturn trends occurred in 2016 and 2017. Overall, Southwest border encounters dropped about 14 percent from December to January: 19 percent for the Office of Field Operations (OFO) and nearly 14 percent for U.S. Border Patrol. 

CBP’s latest numbers come nearly a month after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told Reuters that the country should expect the border crisis to worsen throughout 2022. A majority of Arizona law enforcement expressed support for mitigation efforts proposed by Governor Doug Ducey: federal legislation to increase border security through completing border wall, physical barriers, and virtual surveillance; requiring asylum seekers to show proof of attempt to claim asylum prior to crossing and at a port of entry; increasing the number of immigration judges; and increasing funding for local law enforcement and humanitarian efforts.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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