CBP Releases Historic Border Numbers for December

January 23, 2023
A photo from Big Bend, Texas

In December, the large number of individuals fleeing failing communist regimes in Nicaragua and Cuba contributed to an increased number of migrants attempting to cross the border.

United States Customs and Border Protection, as they released new data reflecting a continued historic pace of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the southwest border.

Why It Matters: During December 2022, CBP recorded 251,487 encounters of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the southwest border – a 7% increase from November and the highest number of monthly encounters recorded in the past 20+ years. Of those encountered, one in five were quickly expelled under Title 42 – a controversial provision re: public health safety. Eight in ten people were processed under immigration law Title 8 – meaning they were either allowed to stay in the U.S. pursuing asylum, detained, or removed with no legal basis to remain.

  • Important To Note: People can be encountered more than once; for example, during Dec., about 14% of people encountered had been encountered at least once before over the past 12 months.
  • Big Picture: CBP notes that uncertainty surrounding Title 42 – which was set to be lifted in Dec. – caused a large amount of people to travel to the border during Dec. However, Title 42 currently remains in place along the border, following a Supreme Court order in late Dec.
  • Looking Ahead: In early Jan., the Biden administration expanded a humanitarian parole program allowing a certain amount of Haitians, Cubans, and Nicaraguans (along with Venezuelans) into the U.S., while also quickly expelling a certain amount under Title 42. Of this new policy, CBP acting commissioner Troy Miller said, “The December update shows our new border enforcement measures are working. … we continued to see a sharp decline in the number of Venezuelans unlawfully crossing our southwest border, down 82% from September 2022. Early data suggests the expanded measures for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans are having a similar impact, and we look forward to sharing the additional data in the next update."
  • The government says they are implementing a six-pillared strategy to secure the border and build "a safe, orderly and humane immigration system"; this strategy includes actions such as "surging resources" to the border. CBP says, "This comprehensive plan leverages a whole-of-government approach to prepare for and manage the current and anticipated increases in encounters of noncitizens at our Southwest border."

CBP Releases December 2022 Monthly Operational Update (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

by Jenna Lee,