Over 261,000 Foreign Nationals Illegally Crossed Southern Border in August

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(Bethany Blankely, The Center Square) U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 232,972 total encounters along the southwest border in August.

The data includes 181,059 encounters with illegal border crossers reported between ports of entry along the Southwest border by Border Patrol agents.

Official data excludes at least 28,355 gotaways reported by Border Patrol agents in preliminary data obtained by The Center Square earlier this month.

Including the gotaway number, total illegal border crossers apprehended or reported evading capture last month was at least 261,327. This is the greatest number reported in August in U.S. history, according to CBP data on record.

Troy Miller, a senior CBP official performing the duties of the CBP commissioner, said the agency’s “operational tempo along the border has increased in response to increased encounters, and we remain squarely focused on our broader security mission and enforcing U.S. immigration laws. We are maximizing consequences against those without a legal basis to remain in the United States, including by processing more individuals into expedited removal than ever before. The men and women of CBP continue to work, day in and day out, to protect our nation, disrupting the entry of dangerous people and dangerous goods into the country while providing humanitarian care for vulnerable individuals.”

U.S. Customs and Border Partrol

Despite his claim that “CBP’s message for anyone who is thinking of entering the United States illegally along the Southwest border is simple: don’t do it,” over 10,000 people in the last few days surged the Eagle Pass and El Paso regions of Texas. Eagle Pass officials declared an emergency and Gov. Greg Abbott increased resources to the areas in response.

Since the previous CBP commissioner Chris Magnus was forced to resign, CBP has not been publishing demographic data it previously did in its monthly report. Some of this information is published here, which breaks down encounters by single adults, individuals in a family unit (FMUA), unaccompanied children, single minors (UC) and accompanied minors.

In August, Office of Field Operations agents apprehended 27,426 single adults, 23,613 family units (FMUA), 710 unaccompanied children (UC) and 164 accompanied minors, totaling 51,913. Border Patrol agents apprehended 74,402 single adults, 93,108 FMUA, and 13,549 UC, totaling 181,059.

The numbers are an increase of 27% from July to August, CBP reports.

CBP also reports demographic data by sector. This data reveals the greatest number of illegal border crossers have been pouring into Texas, specifically in the sectors of El Paso, Del Rio and the Rio Grande Valley.

Fiscal year to date, 389,330 illegal border crossers have been apprehended in El Paso, 347,572 in Del Rio, and 292,576 in the Rio Grande Valley.

Southwest sectors that have also been hit hard by illegal border crossers in the sectors of Tucson and San Diego, which have apprehended 322,630 and 204,334 people, respectively.

The majority of illegal border crossers are single adults, totaling nearly 1.2 million fiscal year to date. The majority are coming non-Central American countries from all over the world, totaling over 577,000. The next greatest numbers are more than 444,000 Mexicans, over 76,000 Guatemalans, more than 65,000 Hondurans and over 26,000 El Salvadorans.

The next largest group of illegal border crossers are family units, totaling over 518,000 fiscal year to date. Among them, the greatest number are coming from non-Central American countries, over 324,000; followed by over 71,000 Mexicans, nearly 60,000 Guatemalans, and over 61,000 Hondurans.

Over 118,000 unaccompanied children have been brought into the U.S. through the southern border. The majority of them, nearly 44,000, are from Guatamala.

These numbers exclude gotaways, which The Center Square has been reporting on for the last two years. Nearly 1.6 million gotaways have been reported illegally entering the U.S. and evading capture since January 2021.

Gotaways is the official term used by Border Patrol agents to describe foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry and don’t return to Mexico or Canada.

They don’t file asylum or other immigration-related claims – they intentionally illegally enter to avoid being caught. Many have criminal records. They often run when they are pursued by Border Patrol agents or others in law enforcement, authorities tell The Center Square.

The majority of gotaways are single, military-age men. They also include women and children, many who are smuggled, law enforcement officials have explained.

Since January 2021, the number of known, reported gotaways total more than the individual populations of 11 states. The number is believed to be much higher because Border Patrol agents, law enforcement officers, Homeland Security – the agency tasked with defending the homeland – have no idea how many come through who weren’t captured on camera or reported. They have no idea how many, who or where they are.

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