Oct 23, 2023 - World

U.S. southern border crossings hit new highs amid humanitarian crisis

 Immigrants walk past razor wire after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border early on September 29, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Immigrants walk past razor wire after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border early on Sept. 29, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

U.S. border officials have removed or returned more individual migrant family members in the last four months than in any previous full fiscal year amid a global humanitarian crisis.

The big picture: While new U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows this to be the largest number of southern border crossings, that's only when you count people crossing at legal ports of entry through the CBP One app or via legal parole programs, Axios' Stef Kight notes.

  • So it's not the largest number for illegal crossings because of this. And though apprehension for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 surpassed 2 million for the second straight year, there were slightly fewer than in 2022.

By the numbers: There were 269,735 CBP encounters along the southwest border in total last month and a new fiscal year high of 2.47 million encounters.

  • Border Patrol apprehended Venezuelans who crossed the border 54,833 times in September, compared to 39,733 Mexicans — marking the first time people from Mexico have not been the largest number apprehended at the border.

Zoom out: Democratic-led cities have for months reported that their cities are struggling to provide shelter for the thousands of migrants after Republican governors responded to unprecedented crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border with massive efforts to bus them to predominantly blue-run states.

What they're saying: "In response to high rates of encounters across the southwest border in September, CBP surged resources and personnel," said Troy Miller, senior CBP official performing the duties of the commissioner, in a statement.

  • "We are continually engaging with domestic and foreign partners to address historic hemispheric migration, including large migrant groups traveling on freight trains, and to enforce consequences including by preparing for direct repatriations to Venezuela."
  • Miller said the agency would make any operational adjustments required. The supplemental funding request announced last week "would provide critically needed additional resources" for the border, including additional CBP agents and officers to support essential missions at the border, he added.

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