(Headline USA) U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens revealed this week that more than 18,000 “known gotaways” have crossed the southern border illegally during the first 16 days of fiscal year 2024.
“That is why you need every Border Patrol agent to be in the field and on patrol,” Owens noted in a tweet.
Over 18K known gotaways in the first 16 days of FY24. These are individuals whose identities & purpose we do not know. That is why you need every Border Patrol agent to be in the field and on patrol. pic.twitter.com/uQlRgR76HQ
— Chief Jason Owens (@USBPChief) October 17, 2023
“Gotaways” are illegal immigrants that evade border agents and go on to enter the interior of the U.S. without being logged into the system.
“These are individuals whose identities & purpose we do not know,” Owens explained.
FY 2024 runs from October 2023 through the end of September 2024. The numbers of “gotaways” thus far means at least 1,125 people are crossing into the country illegally every day without being caught. Thousands more are detained by border agents.
Former Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott said the number of “gotaways” has increased over the past several months because the sheer number of migrants flooding the border has stretched border officers thin, the New York Post reported.
Officers now have to spend most of their time processing migrants and filling out paperwork for them, instead of patrolling the border to look for potential goataways, drug smugglers and terrorists, he said.
Brandon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, agreed: “We’re not out there actively doing law enforcement duties—we’re doing administrative duties. We’re not protecting the American people.”
Responding to the news, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, called the situation an “existential crisis.”
18,000 KNOWN gotaways in 16 days
This is an existential crisis. https://t.co/7yj2YketdT
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) October 18, 2023
Border Protection has not released a complete gotaway estimate for FY 2023, but as of May there had been an estimated 530,000, an indication that the full year will beat FY 2022’s record of 600,000.
In total, more than 1.5 million people have illegally entered the U.S. without being apprehended during the three years of Biden’s term, according to border officials.