November saw nearly a quarter of a million migrant encounters at the southern border, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Friday, making it the third-busiest month of a migrant crisis that has smashed records and overwhelmed Border Patrol agents.
There were 242,418 migrant encounters at the southern border in November, including migrant encounters at ports of entry and illegal immigrant encounters by Border Patrol between ports of entry.
It’s higher than the 235,173 encountered during Nov. 22, and is only behind September (269,735) and December 2022 (252,315) in terms of the number of migrants encountered. It is the highest November number on record.
Meanwhile, there were 17 apprehensions of people on the terror watch list in November.
It comes as Border Patrol has been dealing with increased numbers after a FY 23 that broke the record for encounters in a single fiscal year. Agents have been overwhelmed by a surge of migrants from across the globe in places like Lukeville, Arizona, and Eagle Pass, Texas.
Monday saw a record 12,600 encounters, the highest recorded in a single day. CBP sources told Fox this week that December has already exceeded 200,000 encounters and could easily eclipse November’s numbers given that agents are encountering 10,000+ a day.
Meanwhile, sources told Fox News on Friday that Border Patrol has released more than 386,000 illegal immigrants into the U.S. with Notices to Appear since Oct. 1. That does not include those released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and does not include migrants paroled into the U.S. via the CBP One app at ports of entry.
Republicans have blamed the crisis on Biden-era policies, including the rolling back of policies put in place by the Trump administration, and have passed legislation in the House to limit releases and increase border security. The Biden administration has said it needs more funding and its own sweeping legislation to fix a “broken” system and deal with a hemisphere-wide crisis. Meanwhile, it has said it is increasing consequences for illegal entry while expanding “lawful pathways.”
In a statement, CBP said it had surged resources to respond to increases and is screening every individual encountered. It said that since May, over 400,000 individuals have been removed from the country.
“CBP continues to execute its important mission to protect the American people, safeguard our borders, and enhance the nation’s economic prosperity by implementing operational plans, surging personnel and decompressing areas along the southwest border while processing and vetting migrants who are encountered humanely, safely, and efficiently, consistent with our laws. We are facing a serious challenge along the southwest border and CBP and our federal partners need more resources from Congress — as outlined in the supplemental budget request — to enhance border security and America’s national security.” acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement. “Despite ongoing challenges, in November, the men and women of CBP continued their tireless work and recorded increased seizures of illegal narcotics while facilitating lawful trade and increased holiday travel.”
The White House this week had appeared to downplay the crisis, saying that such increases in numbers are “not unusual.”
“What we’re seeing here at the border, the increased migration flow, certainly, it ebbs and flows. And we’re at a time of the year where we’re seeing more at the border. And it’s not unusual. This is an immigration system that has been broken for decades. And the president has taken this very seriously to try to do more. That’s why we have the comprehensive immigration policy legislation that the president put forth on day one,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Negotiations are ongoing in Congress for the White House’s supplemental funding request, which includes $14 billion for border operations. Republicans have demanded limits on asylum and restrictions on the use of parole. President Biden has said he is open to “significant compromises” but so far a deal has not been reached, despite optimism from lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the administration continues to face pressure from state and local officials at the border and elsewhere in the U.S. Mayors of sanctuary cities like Chicago and New York City have demanded more funding to help them deal with the massive numbers of migrants they have seen come to their cities and that have strained their social services.
Last week, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced that she was mobilizing the National Guard to help federal officials and attempt to reopen the Lukeville port of entry, while accusing the federal government of inaction.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has expanded his transports of migrants to “sanctuary” cities by flying migrants into Chicago. He also signed an immigration bill this week to allow law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants in an attempt to stop what he called a “tidal wave” of illegal immigration.
Meanwhile, the Border Patrol union made clear agents’ displeasure with the way the crisis is being handled.
“While our agents are more than willing to sacrifice the holidays to protect fellow Americans, that’s not what they will be doing,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on Friday. “They will be processing the illegal border crossers for release into the U.S. while large parts of the border will be left wide open to exploitation by organized crime. These will not be happy holidays for the hard working men and women of the Border Patrol.”