Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported over 220,000 migrant encounters along the southern border in September, outpacing every other September on record, according to new agency statistics revealed Friday.
The agency clocked roughly 2.3 million migrant encounters for fiscal year 2022, shattering the previous record, and took over 2.7 million enforcement actions nationally in fiscal year 2022, up more than 41% over fiscal year 2021, according to its data.
CBP said 19% of the September southern border encounters involved people encountered at least one other time in the past 12 months.
“CBP and DHS will continue to work with our partners in the region to address the root causes of migration, expand legal pathways, facilitate removals, and take thousands of smugglers off the streets,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said. “No matter what smugglers say, those who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country will be removed and people should not make the dangerous journey.”
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Unique migrant encounters in September increased by about 15% nationwide over the previous month, largely a consequence of more Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan asylum seekers trying to escape their authoritarian governments, CBP said. Unique encounters with individuals from those countries were 245% higher in September 2022 compared to September 2021.
On Oct. 12, the Department of Homeland Security announced joint actions with Mexico to reduce southern border arrivals, declaring that Venezuelans entering the U.S. between ports of entry would be sent back to Mexico “effective immediately.” Magnus claimed Friday that Venezuelan southern border arrivals had gone down almost every day since such actions started.
“Over the past week, the number of Venezuelans attempting to enter the country fell more than 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launch of the joint enforcement actions,” he said. “While this early data is not reflected in the latest report, it confirms what we’ve said all along: when there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border unlawfully.”