New Data: Historic Number of Encounters at U.S. Border

October 27, 2023

In response to high rates of encounters across the southwest border in September, CBP surged resources and personnel.

Senior official with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Troy Miller, in an operational update providing the latest numbers from the southwest border.

Why It Matters The total number of encounters (for both the northern/southwest border) for the entire year totaled more than 3 million – the highest number of encounters in modern data collection.

For September:

In September, CBP recorded 269,739 encounters along the southwest border – a 16% increase from August and a new record high.

Single adults made of the majority of those encountered in September (49%), with family unit individuals making up about 46% of encounters; accompanied and unaccompanied minors made up a smaller percentage of people encountered.

Those encountered 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.

Big Picture: The data from September not only paints a picture of what happened along the southwest border for the month, but also for the year (the government’s fiscal year runs from October – September). Both the southwest and northern borders saw increases year-over-year.

For the Southwest Land Border: In fiscal year 2023, the government recorded 2.47 million encounters along the southwest border – the highest annual number of encounters ever recorded, surpassing FY 2022’s record (2.3M encounters) and FY 2021’s record (1.7M encounters).

For the Northern Land Border: In fiscal year 2023, the government recorded 189,000+ encounters – *from our early research* this is the highest annual number of encounters ever recorded, surpassing FY 2022 (109,000+ encounters) and FY 2021 (27,000+ encounters).

Also To Note: In September, the U.S. Border Patrol performed more than 4,600 rescues of people attempting to cross the southwest border, bringing the total number of rescues to 37,323 for the year. In CBP’s operational update, Miller said, “We are continually engaging with domestic and foreign partners to address historic hemispheric migration, including large migrant groups traveling on freight trains, and to enforce consequences including by preparing for direct repatriations to Venezuela,” Miller said, noting that “CBP will continue to remain vigilant …” Miller also commented on President Biden’s recent $100B aid package request to Congress (which included funding for the border), saying it “would provide critically needed additional resources including additional CBP agents and officers to support our essential missions …”

CBP Releases September 2023 Monthly Update

Interactive data chart from U.S. CBP reflecting encounters along the southwest border

SmartHER News’ reporting on the southern and northern border for August 2023

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas