April’s CBP ‘Encounters’ at the Southwest Border Highest Number Ever Recorded

More than 1.2 million illegal aliens apprehended in FY 2022 as the end of Title 42 quickly approaches

By Robert Law on May 17, 2022

We are more than halfway into May and yet U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hasn’t updated its Southwest Land Border Encounters page with April’s figures — despite this data being readily available. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has utilized this delay tactic throughout the Biden administration in an effort to hide the full extent of its border crisis from the American people.

So how do I know April’s figures are record-setting bad? Thanks to a court-mandated monthly filing in Texas v. Biden, we learn that CBP “encountered” (read: arrested or apprehended) 234,088 illegal aliens at the Southwest border last month, a roughly 6 percent increase over March’s 221,303 encounters, which at the time was the worst month ever recorded. To put these numbers into perspective, we now have consecutive months setting the all-time border apprehension record and four total months above the 200,000 threshold already in the Biden administration’s first 16 months (the others being July (213,593) and August (209,840) in 2021). Prior to the Biden administration, border apprehensions last exceeded 200,000 in March 2000 (220,063), a time that precedes the creation of DHS.

As a reminder, Texas is a lawsuit brought by the states of Texas and Missouri in April 2021 challenging the Biden administration’s termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, or “Remain in Mexico”). Federal district court judge Matthew Kacsmaryk enjoined Secretary Mayorkas's termination of MPP and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the injunction. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court and Andrew Arthur has called it the "Most Significant Immigration Case — Ever".

While this case is on appeal, the Biden administration is required to continue providing Judge Kacsmaryk with updated border figures for the previous month by the 15th of the current month. Here’s what else we learn about what occurred in April from the May filing with the court:

  • Of the 234,088 encounters, 96,908 aliens were expelled under Title 42’s emergency health authority and 137,180 aliens were subject to Title 8 (immigration law).
  • Adding this figure to previous numbers, CBP has now encountered more than 1.2 million illegal aliens thus far in fiscal year (FY) 2022.
  • Of the aliens subject to Title 8, CBP paroled into the country 88,452 aliens and released another 21,755 aliens into the country with a Notice to Appear (NTA) and an Order of Release on Recognizance.
  • Adding the 110,207 illegal aliens let into the country last month to previous numbers, the Biden administration has released nearly 950,000 aliens into the interior thus far in FY 2022.
  • The 950,000 illegal aliens released into the country combined would make this population the 13th largest U.S. city, just behind Fort Worth, Texas (958,692).
  • Unless something drastically changes in May, and there is no indication that will be the case, the total illegal-alien population released into the country during FY 2022 would jump up to the equivalent of the 10th-largest U.S. city, topping Austin, Texas (1.028 million), and San Jose, Calif. (1.003 million), in the process.

Against this backdrop, the Biden administration is attempting to end Title 42’s expulsion authority on May 23. I say “trying” because several states sued after the Biden administration announced in late March it would allow the Title 42 authority to lapse on May 23. Federal district court judge Robert Summerhays temporarily blocked the lifting of Title 42 and heard arguments on the case on May 13. He has indicated he will rule before May 23 on whether or not the Biden administration is allowed to end its application of Title 42. While the Biden administration fights to end Title 42 in court, it has already conceded that doing so could result in as many as 18,000 illegal alien encounters per day. Or, as Andrew Arthur framed it, “Simply put: Title 42 is the only thing standing between the current chaos at the Southwest border, and no border there at all.”

And what exactly will the White House response be should Title 42 go away? The administration’s "plan", if you can call it that, is to more quickly process aliens out of DHS custody and reclassify them as “asylum seekers”. Mark Krikorian accurately summed it up as, “What that means is that the White House plan for dealing with the surge of new illegal immigration — which will come on top of the existing historic surge of illegal immigration — is not to halt the surge but to launder it by granting asylum immediately to virtually all those who jump the border.”

March’s border numbers were historically bad. April’s were even worse. The Biden administration is doing everything it can to lift Title 42 in the coming days. It once seemed inconceivable that we would ever have 200,000 apprehensions in a month, but with the Biden administration doubling down on its failed policies is it possible that we may cross 300,000 illegal-alien apprehensions in a month before the end of summer?