Historic Pace Along U.S. Border Continues

January 4, 2024

We are facing a serious challenge along the southwest border …

A United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) senior official in the federal agency’s monthly update including new data on encounters of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the nation’s borders in November 2023.

Why It Matters: A historic pace of people attempting entry into the U.S. along both the southwest and northern border continues. 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.

Perspective: In just two months (Oct. & Nov.), CBP has recorded more than half a million encounters (510,000+) of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the southwest and northern border combined.

Southwest Border: In November, CBP recorded a total of 242,418 encounters of people attempting entry along the southwest border – a slight increase from October and the third-highest monthly total recorded in modern data collection.

  • Single adults made up the majority of those encountered (about 52%), while family unit individuals encountered made up 43% of the total. The number of unaccompanied minors encountered increased by 11% from October, making up 5% of total encounters.
  • In FY 2024 so far, CBP has also conducted nearly 1,000 search and rescue efforts of people attempting to enter the U.S. along the southwest border.

Northern Border: During November, CBP recorded 14,055 encounters along the northern border; while this figure is a decrease from months prior, the total remains at an elevated level compared to encounters along the northern border in the past.

  • In late December, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia, U.S. Border Patrol Swanton Sector, (a Sector consisting of the U.S. northern border in parts of upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire) said, “In just the last two months (Oct. & Nov.), Swanton Sector Border Patrol Agents have apprehended 1,850 subjects from 43 different countries, surpassing the number of apprehensions in Fiscal Years (FY) 2021 & 2022 combined.”

Big Picture: In its operational update, CBP said, “We continue to target criminal smuggling networks that are preying on vulnerable migrants. Despite these efforts, however, global migration remains historically high in the Western Hemisphere and around the world.” CBP also referenced the Biden administration’s supplemental budget request to Congress which includes funding for the border (and other security issues including Israel and Ukraine), noting that if passed, it would “help right-size a system that was not built to manage the level of encounters we are experiencing.” This supplemental funding request has been held up in Congress amid debate regarding tightening immigration policy.

Read More: CBP releases November 2023 monthly update

CBP Enforcement Statistics

Johnson Heads to Border, Turning Up Heat on Biden for an Immigration Deal (The New York Times)

More on why the U.S. border matters in our first SCOOP report of 2024

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas