AUSTIN, Texas — President Joe Biden and his top deputies are pushing shell-game accounting and the untruthful narrative that “non-citizen” crossings over the U.S. southwest border have plummeted by up to “70 percent,” so there’s nothing to see here, folks. Not so fast.
Despite the claimed success of the administration’s new “stiffer consequences” border management plan since the end of the Title 42 pandemic-era instant-expulsion policy on May 11, the historic mass migration crisis rages at full throttle into its third straight year. It rages in three ways that media outlets and even some Republican lawmakers are unwilling to see, acknowledge, or report — but I’ve witnessed all three firsthand at the southwest border.
The CBP-One Illusion
First, the Biden administration is ushering in would-be border jumpers through what it calls a “historic expansion” of granting humanitarian fast-pass entrance slips to intending border jumpers via a cell-phone app called “CBP-One.” This historically expanded program allows those who intended to cross illegally between land ports of entry to now be funneled through them and thus not be counted in the politically problematic monthly “illegal crossings” category.
The “70 percent” decline in “illegal crossings” does not mean 70 percent fewer foreign nationals entered America over the border as implied.
Under the CBP-One rubric, most (if not all) of the administration’s claimed “decline” in “non-citizen” migrants are still pouring into American towns and cities that are, in growing numbers, declaring emergencies and demanding state and federal bailouts. Here’s what a typical CBP-One line into America looks like on the bridge from Matamoros to Brownsville.
The administration so far has maintained the fiction of steep declines in foreign national border entries through secrecy. It will not release the granular-level CBP-One entry data that would tell Americans how many foreign nationals are crossing on bridges and through airports.
As one measure reflecting the administration’s desire to keep CBP-One entries a state secret, the administration ignored my February 2023 Freedom of Information Act request for granular breakdowns of the entries. My employer, the Center for Immigration Studies, has federally filed suit to force compliance. In a more pointed indication of intent to maintain the shell game, the administration ignored a March 2023 formal request for the CBP-One data by Republican lawmakers. That leaves the rest of us to guess and extrapolate.
Former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan, now a visiting fellow for the Heritage Foundation, did some arithmetic on encounters with “inadmissible aliens” at the southern border land ports and at interior airports through which all CBP-One beneficiaries enter.
He found striking increases in port-of-entry encounters that coincide with the rollout of CBP-One. For instance, in FY 2020, encounters at these borderland and interior ports (excluding the northern border) averaged 20,148 per month during Covid and rose to 45,994 per month in FY 2022, according to Morgan’s tally. But so far in FY 2023 through April, Morgan found 81,512 per month through the same ports, most presumably benefiting from CBP-One.
And this doesn’t include the “historic increases” that the administration says it ordered for CBP-One in May. Morgan said he thinks the number of migrants going through the ports will hit 100,000 in June, a national record. Then the numbers will rise from there as the administration continues to expand CBP-One so that more than a million foreign nationals will cross sight unseen.
If we add the 80,000 presumed CBP-One recipients who enter through ports each month to the number caught in the brush — 169,244, for instance, that Border Patrol caught in the brush in May — the total comes out to a projected rate of about 250,000 in a month.
Subtracting those the administration actually deported under Title 8 and the last days of Title 42 that month, 36,000, then the total number of foreign nationals who entered over the southern border still comes in at a historic record rate of about 215,000. That falls in the historic and stratospheric territory of the Biden border crisis.
And it is smack dab in the average zone of 178,053 per month since October 2022. Since March 2021, Border Patrol’s non-port-of-entry brush apprehensions have ranged from as low as 169,000 to a high of 221,000 (December 2022), according to CBP’s public reports. For an eye-opening comparison, consider the final year of former President Donald Trump’s administration when monthly caught-in-brush numbers stood around 30,000.
America’s beleaguered cities and towns, growing numbers of which are suffering unfunded inundation, do not care how the government let 200,000 aliens cross per month. They only care that they are here.
Notwithstanding CBP-One, strong evidence suggests that rates of illegal entry through the brush, since a pause that came when the administration replaced Title 42, is now quickly growing. Immigrants have learned that the administration will reward them, not punish them as promised.
Spike in Families, Minors, and More
Second, illegal crossings of family units, unaccompanied minors, and foreign nationals from “recalcitrant countries” are on a sharp upswing. They are crossing illegally between ports after discovering that Biden’s Department of Homeland Security is not rigorously applying the promised harsh punishments of its new plan, which threatens “expedited removal” under Title 8, wholesale asylum-claim denials, prosecution, and five-year bans on legal reentry.
Large numbers of family-unit aliens who illegally crossed into Del Rio, Texas, find quick release within two days and then bus rides into the American interior with their papers and children. May 2023/Todd Bensman.
I just came back from Mexico and the Border Patrol’s Del Rio Sector, which is experiencing a major surge of illegal crossings again. What I found and reported in the New York Post is that family groups in line for CBP-One finally discovered that they could abandon their spots in line, cross illegally, and still gain entrance into America with none of the promised negative consequences.
Biden’s rules do not apply to families, and so their numbers are spiking from the 25,000 monthly range in January and February to 44,900 in May. Expect torrents of them going forward. There is also evidence that unaccompanied minors are flooding in at the pre-Title 42 rate of 11,000-12,000 per month because they too are exempt from the new, supposedly tough rules.
In addition to families and solo teens who are all but guaranteed quick releases, the administration is allowing large numbers of aliens, single adults and families alike, from dozens of distant countries to go free into the United States on the same personal recognizance with notice-to-appear papers. Large spigots are open in the Yuma and in the Rio Grande Valley sectors.
During a recent layover at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I saw hundreds of the released, like these Senegalese and Mauritanian men, waiting for flights to airports all over America. They are identifiable by the plastic bags they all carry full of DHS documents. They crossed illegally because they too learned that Biden will not back up his Title 8 tough talk. The administration is releasing thousands of extra-continental aliens every month, among them Afghans, Sudanese, Egyptians, Somalis, and more.
The reasons for their entrance may be that their home nations, like China and Afghanistan, are “recalcitrant” and will not accept them back, that U.S. facilities are full, or that the administration wants as many as possible to come in. Word of this has clearly spread all over the world as historic levels of extra-continental aliens course through the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama — an anticipated 300,000 in 2023, among them minors and families who know the administration will let them in.
More and More Got-Aways
Third, the number of runners and “got-aways” appears to have spiked since May 11.
As I recently reported from Juarez and New Mexico along the Arizona state line, a major outbreak is now underway of “runners” who hope to evade Border Patrol and enter the U.S. illegally by hiring professional human smugglers. Upon entering successfully, runners will be tallied by Border Patrol as “got-aways.”
The government does not release these numbers, but they are widely leaked and show that a surge of runners and got-aways is underway. Since Biden took office, some 1.7 million foreign nationals have become got-aways in total, smashing historic records. Now that number seems only to be going up.
In April, more than 70,000 were reported on the border and in the interior, and in May about 60,000, according to leaked figures I received. These kinds of monthly numbers reside at the far upper scale of got-away tallies even for the Biden administration, judging by data that the Heritage Foundation’s “Oversight Project” received through FOIA.
Consider that got-aways tallied at the 25,000-per-month range during FY 2021, which came in at 308,655, according to the Heritage Foundation’s numbers. It doubled to 50,000 per month in FY 2022 when 606,150 got-aways were tallied, according to data shared with me.
At 60,000-70,000 a month and higher, FY 2023 is projected to top 1 million got-aways.
This is happening because got-aways most typically are foreign nationals who know their criminal backgrounds, warrants, or other ineligibilities would preclude them from CBP-One or catch-and-release. They also know the Biden government has all but ended interior enforcement, a big bonus. So they are running a nominal “blockade.”
In all three of these ways, the border crisis continues at the same historic, stratospheric levels as when Biden took office — the only difference being that Fox News drones can see very little of any of this.
Out of sight, though, should never mean out of mind.