U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) finally released their illegal immigrant encounter numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border late Monday afternoon though historically such data is released much earlier in the month.
In December 2021, U.S. authorities encountered 178,840 illegal immigrants along the southern border, marking the eleventh month straight where encounters remained well over 100,000. In December 2020, CBP encountered 73,994 illegal immigrants. For President Joe Biden's first year in office, CBP staggeringly encountered over 2.1 million people who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
CBP explained in a press release "23 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14 percent for FY2014-2019" and "78,589 encounters, 44 percent of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42. 100,251 encounters were processed under Title 8."
There was a 14 percent decrease in unaccompanied minor encounters, with 11,921 turning themselves over to federal law enforcement in December compared with 13,937 in November.
"In December, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 352 per day, compared with an average of 926 per day in November," CBP stated.
"The dedicated men and women at CBP are committed to ensuring dangerous drugs and counterfeit products are off the streets, our communities are kept safe, and our borders are secured," said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. "Equally important to our mission is facilitating lawful trade and travel that is critical to the sustained growth of the U.S. economy. In December, CBP collected more than $9 billion in estimated duties, and also saw a dramatic increase in the confiscation of fake products."
CBP's encounter numbers do not include the number of "gotaways," those who are known to have illegally entered the country but are not apprehended by law enforcement, and those numbers are estimated to be at their highest levels in recent years.
Mark Morgan, former acting CBP commissioner and Heritage Foundation visiting fellow, previously detailed in response to December's numbers how the Biden administration has failed to secure the southern border:
“More than a year ago, even as Joe Biden was preparing to roll back President Donald Trump’s effective border security policies, he claimed he did not want to end up with ‘two million people on our border.’ After a year on the job, it’s undeniable that Biden has failed even by his own basic measure...Under Joe Biden, more than three million people have tried to violate America’s sovereignty and illegally enter our country. This is not only the worst border crisis in American history—it’s the worst 12 months for any president when it comes to border security."