Migrant encounters at the southern border have already surged past the 200,000 mark for December, with an average of well over 10,000 encounters a day, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources tell Fox News — with still more than a week to go until January.
Sources told Fox that already since December there have been over 200,000 encounters. The record for monthly encounters was set in September, with over 269,000. October saw over 240,000 encounters and the numbers have not yet been released for November.
Last December saw over 252,000 encounters, which was then a monthly record. That number could easily be eclipsed if agents continue to encounter 10,000 migrants a day between now and the end of the month.
The new surge comes during a year that has seen multiple records smashed for daily and monthly encounters as well as for the fiscal year — in FY23 overall there were over 2.4 million encounters.
On Monday, there were over 12,600 encounters, which itself broke the record for daily encounters after a surge into Eagle Pass, Texas. Sources told Fox that agents were outmanned at approximately 200:1 with migrants. On Thursday, Fox News was on the ground in Lukeville, Arizona, where there was another mass crossing of over 700 illegal immigrants, with massive numbers of adult males mixed in with families from Mexico and Ecuador.
Last week, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced that she was mobilizing the National Guard to help federal officials and attempt to re-open the Lukeville port of entry, while accusing the federal government of inaction.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has expanded his transports of migrants to “sanctuary” cities by flying migrants into Chicago. He also signed an immigration bill this week to allow law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants in an attempt to stop what he called a “tidal wave” of illegal immigration.
Fox reported last week that Department of Homeland Security officials told lawmakers this month that there were around 670,000 “gotaways,” illegal immigrants who slipped past Border Patrol agents, in FY 23, and that they are releasing an average of 5,000 illegal immigrants a day to non-governmental organizations.
That is in addition to the over 1,600 migrants being paroled in at ports of entry each day and the up to 30,000 Haitian, Venezuelan, Nicaraguans and Cubans being flown in each month through the Biden administration’s expanded “lawful pathways.”
Republicans have blamed the crisis on the administration’s policies, including its rollback of Trump-era border measures, and has called for strict asylum limits and greater border security. The administration has said it is pursuing a strategy of expanding those pathways while increasing consequences for illegal entry, but that it is also dealing with a hemisphere-wide crisis and needs additional funding and immigration reform legislation from Congress.
A request $14 billion for border funding from Congress as part of a broader $106 billion supplemental funding request is being debated by lawmakers, with Republicans have demanded greater limits on humanitarian parole and higher asylum standards.
While the Biden administration has reportedly expressed openness to a Title 42-style authority and greater deportations, it is unclear if such a deal is possible given likely opposition from both Democrats, who have opposed such limits, and Republicans who say that it isn’t enough.
Lawmakers involved in negotiations have expressed optimism that a deal is possible, but it is unlikely to be agreed to before January.