Over 200,000 migrant encounters recorded in December as US border crisis intensifies

With more than a week left in the month, these numbers are rapidly climbing, potentially surpassing the previous monthly record set in September with over 269,000 encounters.

Over 200,000 migrant encounters recorded in December as US border crisis intensifies
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
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US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources have reported to Fox News that encounters at the U.S. southern border have already exceeded 200,000 for December, averaging well over 10,000 encounters daily.

With more than a week left in the month, these numbers are rapidly climbing, potentially surpassing the previous monthly record set in September with over 269,000 encounters.

The influx of migrants this December could easily eclipse last year's December record of over 252,000 encounters if the current trend of 10,000 daily encounters persists until month's end. The surge is part of a year that has witnessed unprecedented numbers, with over 2.4 million encounters reported in FY23.

The intensity of the situation was palpable on Monday when CBP agents, outnumbered at an estimated ratio of 200:1, faced over 12,600 encounters in a single day, primarily in Eagle Pass, Texas. Fox News also reported a massive crossing of over 700 illegal immigrants in Lukeville, Arizona, consisting of adult males and families from Mexico and Ecuador.

In response to the overwhelming influx, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has mobilized the National Guard to assist federal officials and reopen the Lukeville port of entry, criticizing the federal government's apparent inaction. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has taken a more aggressive stance by expanding migrant transports to "sanctuary" cities like Chicago and signing a bill empowering law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently informed lawmakers that approximately 670,000 "gotaways" — migrants who evaded Border Patrol — occurred in FY 23. Additionally, an average of 5,000 illegal immigrants are released daily to non-governmental organizations, not including the 1,600 migrants paroled at ports of entry each day and the tens of thousands flown in monthly through expanded "lawful pathways."

The crisis has fueled a political firestorm, with Republicans accusing the Biden administration of exacerbating the situation through policy rollbacks and demanding stricter asylum limits and enhanced border security. Meanwhile, the administration argues for a strategy of lawful pathways and increased enforcement but also highlights the need for additional funding and immigration reform from Congress.

As negotiations continue over a proposed $14 billion for border funding, the prospects for a swift resolution remain uncertain as a deal remains unlikely to be reached before January.

Lawmakers are cautiously optimistic about reaching an agreement, but substantial disagreements persist between Democrats wary of restrictive measures and Republicans skeptical of the administration's commitment to border security.

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