2023 Marks Highest Level of Illegal Immigration in U.S. History

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FAIR Take | October 2023

Over the weekend, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released new data showing that fiscal year 2023 now marks the highest level of illegal immigration in U.S. history.  Over the past twelve months, CBP has encountered a stunning 3.2 million illegal aliens at our borders—more than all four years of the Trump Administration combined.  The FY 2023 total represents a 16 percent increase over FY 2022 (2.76 million) and a 63 percent increase over FY 2021 (1.96 million).

While 65 percent of the illegal aliens encountered in FY 2023 were single adults (2.06 million), family units are a growing portion of the total.  This year, 31 percent of migrants encountered (994,000) were family units.  In FY 2022, family units accounted for 22 percent of the total (614,000); in FY 2021, family units accounted for 25 percent (484,000).

The data also show that illegal immigration is climbing at a higher rate than before the end of Title 42.  At 341,000, September 2023 saw the highest monthly number of encounters ever.  That number grew 61 percent from June 2023, the first month after Title 42 ended.

When one dives deeper into the data, additional troubling trends emerge.  First, Venezuelans made up 10 percent of illegal aliens encountered in FY 2023, at 335,000.  Of that number 201,000 were encountered at the southwest border, despite President Biden’s promises that his new (illegal) parole program would reduce the number of illegal border crossings.  But in September alone, a stunning 55,000 Venezuelans were encountered at the southwest border, over 25 percent of the southwest total in one month.

In addition, the number of Chinese nationals encountered at our borders is growing.  A total of 52,000 Chinese were caught by CBP in FY 2023.  Nearly half of those, 24,000, were encountered by the Border Patrol trying to sneak through between ports of entry at the southern border.

Finally, the number of suspected terrorists encountered by the Border Patrol during FY 2023 has reached a new high: 172.  Of this number, 169 were encountered trying to evade capture at the southern border, and 3 were apprehended trying to sneak in through the northern border.

Despite the growing concerns over our national security, it is unclear whether the Biden Administration has any intention of getting our borders under control.  As part of the Ukraine-Israel aid package he sent to Congress last week, President Biden included $13.6 billion for “border security.” Unfortunately, the details of the proposal show that the President only intends to use the money to fund the status quo.  FAIR urges Congress to step in and ensure that real policy changes are included in any funding package to stop the immigration crisis created by the President’s open-border policies.

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