Truly Wretched Border Stats Released in a Saturday Morning “News Dump”

Biden’s schemes are degrading border security, as Border Patrol nabs nearly 219K in September and total FY23 SW Border encounters set new record

By Andrew R. Arthur on October 21, 2023

Cynical pundits are accustomed to the Biden administration’s habit of dropping bad border news late, in Friday night “news dumps”, but its press shop has now taken a new tack: publishing CBP’s September and FY 2023 “encounter” statistics on a Saturday morning, when most Americans are focused on fall activities like leaf-viewing and college football. Likely with good reason: Border Patrol apprehended nearly 219,000 illegal migrants at the Southwest border in September (the second worst month ever, after December) bringing the FY 2023 total to 2.045 million (the second worst year ever, after FY 2022). Total Southwest border encounters, including would-be illegal migrants stopped at the ports there, hit a brand-new yearly record of 2.475 million-plus. Those stats reveal that the president’s border schemes – which were intended to hide the disaster from the unwary – are not only failing, but also making things much worse.

“New Border Enforcement Actions”. The White House laid out its plans to deal with the surge of aliens who were expected to enter once CDC “Title 42” expulsion orders expired (which occurred on May 11) in a “fact sheet” captioned “Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Border Enforcement Actions”. The unstated purpose of those actions was to paper over all-important Border Patrol apprehension statistics by funneling the expected surge of migrants “legally” through the ports of entry.

For a “fact sheet”, it was surprisingly non-factual, beginning with the assertion therein that those actions would “expand legal pathways for safe, orderly, and humane migration”. In reality, those pathways for aliens with no right to come here were neither “legal”, nor “safe”, nor “humane”. They may have brought some “order” initially, but as the September numbers reveal, that’s now out the window, too.

There were two main pillars holding up those “border enforcement actions” (itself a misnomer, because there was little “enforcement” in that fact sheet, either).

The first is what I have dubbed the “the CBP One app interview scheme”, which allows aliens without visas (and thus no right to enter) who are in central and northern Mexico to preschedule their illegal entries at the ports of entry using the “CBP One™ Mobile Application” – as if reserving a parole interview with a CBP officer is like snagging a table at that hot trattoria everyone’s talking about.

At present, the Southwest border ports must accommodate up to 44,950 illegal entrants per month under this scheme, and as my colleague, Todd Bensman, recently reported, those migrants are all but assured of being waved into this country for at least two years with work authorization.

The second pillar is what the administration itself has christened the “CHNV parole program”, an acronym for the four countries whose nationals it serves: “Cuba”, “Haiti”, “Nicaragua”, and “Venezuela”. Up to 30,000 of them per month can just skip those dusty border ports and fly directly into modern U.S. international airports in the interior, as Bensman elsewhere explained. They too are promised at least two years to live and work here.

By ushering those 74,950 would-be migrants into the United States monthly, the administration’s logic went, the number of aliens crossing the Southwest border illegally would plummet, and Border Patrol agents could get back to their other jobs – stopping terrorists, drugs, criminals, etc. from flowing in.

September’s Wretched Apprehension Totals. CBP’s wretched September encounter statistics show these schemes are not only failing in real time but making border security much worse.

As alluded to above, Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border apprehended 218,763 illegal entrants at the Southwest border last month – the second highest monthly total in history after December, when agents nabbed just over 222,000 illicit border-crossers.

Get your shocked face ready when I tell you that 57,165 of those apprehended aliens came from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela – more than a quarter of total apprehensions last month. And yet, it gets worse.

That’s because 96 percent of those CHNV migrants, 54,833 of them, are from the “V”, Venezuela. That’s the largest number of nationals of that South American country caught entering illegally in one month ever, 38.5 percent more than the previous record-holder, last September (33,749).

Why is that worse? Because on September 20, the administration caved to northern Democratic politicos enmeshed in their own migrant crises and extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to an estimated 714,700 Venezuelans who were already here. TPS comes with employment authorization, and the idea was that once they received work cards, they would clear out of migrant shelters, and mayors and DAs could go back to not enforcing their own laws.

There is a saying in Washington that “anything the government subsidizes, it gets more of”, and that has plainly proven to be true with respect to Venezuelan TPS. As I explained at the time, Biden’s original designation of Venezuela for TPS in March 2021 triggered the surge in migrants from that country that commenced shortly thereafter. The September designation is simply turbocharging that process.

In any event, those September numbers simply added to an FY 2023 migrant deluge that briefly slowed in May and June only to pour buckets in the late summer. In total, 2,045,838 illegal migrants were apprehended at the Southwest border in FY 2023, second only in history to the 2,206,436 caught there in FY 2022.

And yet, it still gets worse, because CBP was able to expel 1.054 million of those FY 2022 migrants under Title 42. The problem is that Title 42 ended on May 11, meaning expulsion’s no longer an option for those overwhelmed agents in dealing with the flow.

Consequently, the number of aliens processed under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) – which the administration insists on calling “Title 8” to make it sound as effective as Title 42 in deterring illegal aliens (it’s not) – in FY 2023 was actually 30 percent higher than in the prior fiscal year. Rest assured that nearly all of the 1.496 million-plus aliens apprehended at the Southwest border and “processed for removal” under Title 8 in FY 2023 were released, and consequently won’t be removed anytime in the foreseeable future.

Port Encounter Numbers Skyrocket. As if the news cannot get any worse, nearly 51,000 other illegal aliens were deemed inadmissible at the Southwest border ports of entry in September (the second-worst month, ever, falling just short of August’s record total of 51,909), bringing total Southwest border port encounters for FY 2023 to 429,831 – a new yearly record.

To give you an idea of just how significantly port encounters at the U.S.-Mexico line skyrocketed last fiscal year, consider that the FY 2023 total is nearly 150 percent more Southwest border port encounters than in FY 2022 (the prior record), 467 percent more than in FY 2021, and a 648-percent increase over FY 2020.

Much of that increase plainly is due to the CBP One app interview scheme (even though those aliens make reservations to be paroled, they’re still inadmissible because they lack the visas they need to be admitted), but CBP’s “Monthly Operational Update” for September states only that “nearly 278,000 individuals have successfully scheduled appointments to present at a port of entry using CBP One™”.

That leaves nearly 152,000 other inadmissible aliens encountered at the Southwest border ports in FY 2023 who remain unaccounted for. They likely walked up to the ports without reservations but were accommodated anyway. In any event, just 14,609 aliens encountered at the Southwest border ports were expelled under Title 42 – a 74-percent drop compared to FY 2022.

Biden’s Schemes Are Degrading Border Security.  If I really wanted to bring the true scope of this disaster into contrast, I would add that nationwide port encounters – at the Southwest, Northern, Coastal, and interior airports of entry – exceeded 1.137 million in FY 2023, more than double the total in FY 2022, itself an 87.5 percent increase over FY 2021.

Or, I could add that Northern border apprehensions increased more than fourfold in FY 2023 compared to FY 2022, to 10,021, as agents set a new monthly apprehension record there (1,335) in September.

Or finally, I could note that total CBP encounters in FY 2023 – 3,201,144 – blew away the prior yearly encounter record of 2,766,582. That may seem like a mild 15.7 percent increase, but when you consider just Title 8, that figure becomes a whole lot worse: there were 2,622,060 Title 8 encounters in FY 2023 compared to 1,622,616 in FY 2022, or a 61.6 percent jump.

I will spare you, however, all of the implications of those figures for now. Suffice it to say that the much-anticipated post-Title 42 surge is now hitting in its full fury, and that the costs to Americans – higher taxes, larger classroom sizes, longer emergency room waits, increased rents, etc. – are only starting to be felt, as Biden’s schemes to control the border are simply degrading security at the border even more.