CBP Releases Latest Dismal Monthly SW Border Numbers

Second-highest number of Border Patrol apprehensions in any October — ever — while port encounters reach new record

By Andrew R. Arthur on November 15, 2023

On November 14, CBP issued its statistics on the number of aliens it encountered at the nation’s borders and ports, and as in most months since Joe Biden took office, they are dismal: Border Patrol agents nabbed nearly 189,000 illegal entrants at the Southwest border — the second-highest total for any October ever — while CBP officers at the Southwest border ports encountered more than 52,000 inadmissible aliens, a new monthly record and nearly twice as many as in October 2022. Big northern cities straining under the burden of their own migrant crises should get ready, because this wave is coming their way.

To clarify, “encounters” in CBP parlance are the total of Border Patrol apprehensions plus illegal aliens stopped at the ports by the agency’s Office of Field Operations (OFO).

Border Patrol Apprehensions. In October, Border Patrol agents apprehended 188,778 illegal migrants at the Southwest border, a 13.8 percent decrease from September (when agents apprehended nearly 219,000 aliens who had entered illegally) and an 8 percent decline compared to October 2022. Those declines are likely why CBP released these numbers a day early (they usually appear on the 15th of the month), a marked change from weekend “news dumps” in recent months.

CBP should curb its enthusiasm, however, because these numbers really are nothing to celebrate. To explain, keep in mind that there are five key points that need to be considered when reviewing these CBP October encounter statistics.

The first is that the Biden administration’s performance in October is only “positive” compared to its own prior doleful record. Monthly Border Patrol apprehension records date back to October 1999, and in that 24-year period, Southwest border apprehensions for the month of October had never exceeded 92,000 prior to Biden taking office. Under Biden, they’ve never dipped below 159,000.

The second is that nearly all of those aliens in the early 2000s were single adults from Mexico, nearly all of them men coming here to work. In October, almost 45 percent of the aliens apprehended at the Southwest border were adults and children traveling in “family units”, or “FMUs”, and nearly 11,000 were unaccompanied alien children (UACs).

Because FMUS and UACs are the most vulnerable of aliens, they sop up a disproportionate amount of Border Patrol resources, because they must be segregated from unrelated male adults for their own protection. Cartels and smugglers know this, which is why they encourage would-be adult migrants to bring kids with them when heading illegally north.

When agents are drawn off the line to transport, house, and care for FMUs and UACs, it creates what Rodney Scott, Biden’s first Border Patrol chief, has described as “controllable gaps” that smugglers can use to run drugs, criminal aliens, and potential terrorists across the border. Nothing happens at the border by coincidence or happenstance.

Third, and in that vein, just 26 percent of the migrants whom agents apprehended in October were Mexican nationals, and just 25 percent of the others came from the “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The rest, more than 92,000 illegal migrants, came from much further abroad, including more than 29,000 Venezuelans, almost 13,000 Colombians, nearly 12,000 Ecuadorans, 4,129 nationals of India, and 4,247 Chinese nationals.

Removing nationals of those countries poses a challenge in the best of circumstances, and given the procrustean removal restrictions the Biden administration has imposed on ICE, these are far from the best of circumstances. And, of course, they and their smugglers know that — which is why they’re coming.

Fourth, the Biden administration lifted CDC orders mandating the expulsion of illegal migrants, issued under Title 42 of the U.S. Code, on May 11, which means that all of these aliens will be “processed for removal” under “Title 8” of the U.S. Code — better known as the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

There is a big difference between being processed for removal under the INA — a process that can take years and which is subject to numerous appeals — and actually being deported. The migrants and their smugglers are more familiar with that process than the vast majority of the American people (and their representatives, for what it’s worth), which, again, is why they are coming now.

Just looking at aliens who crossed the Southwest border illegally, were apprehended, and processed under the INA, October’s apprehension total is the fourth-largest monthly total in history — trailing just February (211,238) and March (220,063) 2000 — when, as noted, most illegal entrants were single adult males from Mexico — and September 2023 (218,763).

In other words, Biden’s border disaster is far from abating — it’s really just getting started.

October’s Southwest Border Port Encounters and the CBP One App Interview Scheme. Which brings me to the fifth and most crucial key point to consider when reviewing these numbers: the fact that OFO encounters at the Southwest border ports reached their highest monthly level ever, with CBP officers there stopping 52,210 illegal aliens there last month.

That’s a 2.4 percent increase over September, but more importantly, it’s a 98 percent rise compared to October 2022 (26,395), and more than nine times as many Southwest border port encounters as there were in October 2021 (5,724).

The reason why Southwest border port encounters have hit such heights is self-evident: It’s due to what I have termed the “CBP One app port interview scheme”, a shell game the administration is playing to hide the scope of the border crisis from the American people by funneling illegal aliens through the ports of entry.

Here’s how the scheme works. On January 12, DHS started allowing would-be illegal migrants in central and northern Mexico to pre-schedule their illegal entries at selected ports of entry using the “CBP One Mobile Application”. Once there, they are interviewed, purportedly to “initiate a protection claim” as per a January 5 White House “fact sheet”.

I say “purportedly” because CBP officers are slugging illegal aliens through the ports and into the United States at too high a rate for them to perform anything more than a cursory examination of any individual alien before moving onto the next one.

By May, OFO was scheduling 1,000 CBP One interviews per day, a rate the agency bumped up to 1,450 interviews per day by late June. As the Center revealed in October using statistics it had forced out of the administration through the Freedom of Information Act, 225,930 illegal aliens were paroled into the country through the Southwest border ports using the CBP One app interview scheme between February and August — 95.8 percent of those who had used the app. The October statistics suggest that things have only picked up since then.

None of this is legal, which is why the state of Texas filed a complaint to shut the scheme down in May. While that suit wends its way through the courts, however, the administration continues to plow on ahead with its plans.

Total CBP Encounters Top 309,000. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Border Patrol apprehensions at the Northern border hit a new monthly record in October, with more than 1,500 illegal migrants apprehended there, or if I failed to mention that total port encounters nationwide — at the Southwestern, Northern, and Coastal borders and at interior U.S. airports — exceeded 118,700 in October, itself a monthly record.

That latter record is being driven by the CBP One app interview scheme’s equally illegal sister scheme, known as the “CHNV parole program”, which allows 30,000 nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, to fly directly to interior airports monthly, where nearly all are paroled into in the United States.

Biden’s Schemes Aren’t Working. The administration’s stated reason for implementing the CBP One app interview scheme and the CHNV parole program was to tamp down illegal cross-border migration. That was never going to happen, of course, but I’d prefer to believe the president and his immigration advisors were either naïve or ignorant in their hopes of achieving that goal instead of concluding that they were deliberately lying to the American people.

As CBP’s October encounter numbers reveal, Biden’s schemes aren’t slowing down the illegal migrants, but instead are adding some 300,000 new aliens monthly to the illegal population. Taxpayers in New York City, Chicago, and countless other cities and towns across the Republic should be prepared to dig deeper into their pockets, because a load of new arrivals are headed their way.