U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) migrant encounters at the southern border surpassed 250,000 for the month of December, the highest ever recorded, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) source, who requested anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The new total surpasses May 2022’s more than 241,000 migrant encounters, which was the highest DHS ever recorded before December 2022. The total encounters include Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations encounters of migrants both at and between U.S. ports of entry.
Fox News first reported the new record.
In December, Republican states and the Biden administration fought over whether or not to scrap Title 42, the Trump-era public health order used to quickly expel illegal migrants to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Illegal immigration surged during that time period in places like El Paso, Texas, where hundreds of migrants crossed into the area in a matter of days in anticipation of Title 42 expiring on Dec. 21 due to a previous court ruling that the Supreme Court quickly paused.
The influx in El Paso drew the attention of President Joe Biden, who visited the area Jan. 8 in his first border visit.
Biden’s tenure in office has been marked by years of record migrant encounters. In fiscal year 2022, CBP encountered another record of more than 2.3 million at the southern border.
Biden announced Jan. 5 new efforts to expel illegal migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua to Mexico. The plan also means that migrants from those countries who don’t cross illegally will have the opportunity to apply for asylum at U.S. ports of entry if they have a U.S. sponsor.
CBP didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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