At the Border, a Milestone on Migrant Arrivals

There were more than 2M 'encounters' with border officials over the past year—a big first
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2022 8:49 AM CDT
At the Border, a Milestone on Migrant Arrivals
A Border Patrol vehicle is seen Aug. 26 in Eagle Pass, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

There were more migrant arrivals along the US-Mexico border in the past fiscal year than any other: More than 2 million people tried to enter the United States from our southern neighbor, a record achieved in the first 11 months alone. Per a document from US Customs and Border Protection, there were 2,150,639 of what it calls "encounters" by the end of August. The fiscal year wraps up at the end of this month, meaning the final figure can only go up. For context, CPB logged just 1.7 million encounters for the year in 2021, per the Washington Post. Although the monthly numbers started to fall in June and July (207,986 and 200,195, respectively—down from 241,166 in May), there was once again a slight uptick in August, to 203,597.

CBS News notes that of that August number, 181,160 were arrests made by Border Patrol of migrants who tried to enter the United States illegally, while 22,437 were migrants and asylum-seekers who went through ports of entry for processing. It's also important to note that the overall tally includes those who've tried to come to the US before: Nearly 25% of all migrant encounters in August were of people who'd already been apprehended by US border authorities over the past year, per CBP. The demographics of those trying to cross the border has also shifted somewhat. For example, there's been an influx of migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, with the number of those attempting to enter the US from those countries spiking 175% over the last year.

In August, migrants from those nations made up one-third of the individuals apprehended at the border. What complicates matters with this particular group is that because of the US' tense relations with their nations' authoritarian governments, as well as due to limits placed by Mexico, there's no easy way to deport them. Instead, they're typically permitted to apply for asylum in the US, where they can legally stay until their cases are decided. The New York Times notes that officials from the Biden administration made an "unusual move" on Monday, ahead of CBP's release of this data, giving reporters a background briefing that emphasized another unprecedented number: 1.3 million migrants were removed from the US over the past year, more than in any other year. (More US-Mexico border stories.)

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