Illegal Immigration Soars Under Biden To Third-Highest In 97 Years


Nearly 2 million people were encountered by federal law enforcement while attempting to enter the United States illegally over the past year.

Data released Friday afternoon by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows that federal law enforcement officials stopped 1,956,519 noncitizens who tried to gain entry to the U.S. by walking across from Canada or Mexico, entering by way of the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, or passing through an air, land, or sea port. 

The large majority of the 1.9 million, 1.66 million, were stopped by the Border Patrol, whose officers work in the land between ports of entry. That is close to the highest number seen over the past century and is indicative of the border disaster President Joe Biden has overseen and that has dragged down his approval ratings.

In fiscal year 2020, border officials encountered 646,822 people nationwide, federal data show. In 2019, a year in which both Democrats and Republicans declared a “crisis” at the southern border, 1,148,024 people were taken into custody. CBP would not provide data from before 2017, when 526,901 encounters were made.

Illegal immigration to the U.S., the extent of which cannot be fully known because of how many evade federal police and get away, has risen at a faster rate in the first nine months of President Joe Biden’s tenure than any time in the Border Patrol’s 97-year history.

The 1.66 million unlawful crossings that Border Patrol thwarted nationwide over the past 12 months is the third-highest in U.S. history, coming in close to 1,692,544 in 1986 and 1,676,438 in 2000.

The large majority of the Border Patrol’s encounters took place at the Mexican border. Over the past decade, roughly 30,000 to 50,000 people have been encountered illegally crossing the southern border each month. That number dropped to below 20,000 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, partly as the result of a Trump administration order that any child, adult, or family who illegally crossed be sent back to their home country rather than taken into custody.

But illegal crossings from Mexico began to rise through the summer and fall last year as the Border Patrol was only able to turn away migrants but did not refer them for prosecution, essentially giving people unlimited tries to get into the U.S. without getting caught. The 20,000 figure rose each month and hit 71,000 people in December 2020, weeks before Biden took office. 

After taking office on Jan. 20, the Biden administration told migrants not to go to the border. However, it stopped turning away children who showed up alone at the border, and in the months that followed, more children showed up at the southern border than at any time in U.S. history.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, said in an ABC News interview in March that ‘now is not the time to come,’ but that the U.S. was ‘building safe, orderly and humane ways to address the needs of vulnerable children.’

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In total, 146,925 unaccompanied children were encountered at the southern border, between the ports, and at the ports of entry. It nearly doubled the record set in 2019, when 80,000 children came to the border.

As more children streamed to the border from Central and South America, more adults and families also began arriving.

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