Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 162,000 migrants in March who crossed the southwest border with Mexico between ports of entry. This brought the year-to-date apprehension numbers up to nearly 1.06 million migrants during the first six months of FY23.
Migrant apprehensions jumped by 25 percent from February’s reported 130,024 arrests to 162,317 in March, according to the CBP Southwest Land Border Encounters report released after hours on Monday evening. This brought the total for the first six months of the fiscal year to 1,055,320 migrants.
“Overall, in March, encounters of individuals on the Southwest border between ports of entry were down 23% from the prior year, as we continue to respond to the challenges presented by increasing global migration,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller said in the agency’s monthly operational update. The agency added that the numbers are also down by four percent from March 2021, President Joe Biden’s second full month in office.
What the commissioner did not report is that more than 162,000 migrant apprehensions in March are up by 434 percent from March 2020 during President Donald Trump’s last full year in office. The March 2020 report shows agents apprehended 30,389 migrants. In March 2023, the El Paso and Tucson Sectors both exceeded the March 2020 total for the entire southwest border region.
CBP officials bragged that the rate of this year’s February to March increase (25 percent) was lower that the same period in FY22 (33 percent) and FY21 (73 percent). The agency failed to disclose that the same period increase in FY20 was barely over one percent.
CBP officials added the following demographic analysis showing significant increases in the categories of migrant family apprehensions and unaccompanied minor apprehensions.
• Over two-thirds (69%) of all southwest land border encounters were single adults, with 133,256 encounters in March, a 19% increase compared to February.
• Encounters of unaccompanied children increased 14%, with 12,374 encounters in March compared with 10,845 in February. In March, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 464 per day, compared with an average of 438 per day in February.
Family Unit individuals
• Encounters of family unit individuals increased by 38% from 33,291 in February to 45,964 in March—which is a 47% decrease from the peak of 86,626 in August 2021.
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents combined for a total of 1,544,087 migrant encounters during the first six months of the current fiscal year. This is up more than 26 percent from 1,218,650 during the same period last year. These numbers could escalate significantly next month as Title 42 comes to its expected end. A DHS report estimated as many as 18,000 migrants per day — more than 500,000 per month — could cross the border between ports of entry. The current single-month record for the Biden administration is just over 241,000.
“CBP will continue to enforce our immigration laws and ramp up efforts to combat smuggler misinformation as we prepare to return to expedited removal proceedings under Title 8 authorities, which carry stricter consequences like a five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution for unlawful entry,” Commissioner Miller concluded in his statement.