The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed that there were a record 302,034 total encounters at the country’s southern border in December 2023.
Border Patrol recorded that 249,785 of them were between ports of entry on the border. Fox News first reported on the encounters in early January before the Biden administration confirmed the record-high numbers.
Troy A. Miller, a senior official for CBP, said in a statement Friday that officers continue to enforce immigration laws at and between ports of entry and are working with Mexico along the shared border.
“CBP continues to use all available resources to ensure the safety and security of our agents and officers, and the migrants who are often misled and victimized by the transnational criminal organizations,” Miller’s statement said. “But as we have repeatedly said, CBP and our federal partners need additional support from Congress so that we can continue to effectuate consequences for those who do not use established lawful pathways.”
CBP said there was a 50 percent decrease in migrant encounters in the first two weeks of January, which was consistent with “historical trends and enhanced enforcement.”
The numbers come at a time when Congress is still negotiating a critical border deal that has been in the works for months. Former President Trump has attempted to kill the border deal that’s in the works to deny President Biden a legislative win over the controversial surge in immigration and border security.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are unhappy about the attempt, as it stalls aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia.
The record numbers also come at a time between a standoff between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and the federal government, after he defied a Supreme Court order to remove razor-wire barriers along the state’s border with Mexico.
The ruling came after state law enforcement prevented Border Patrol officers from accessing a riverside park in Eagle Pass, Texas, which is a migrant crossing hotspot. Three migrants, a woman and two children drowned in the Rio Grande just outside the park. Border Patrol officials claimed the Texas National Guard prevented them from rescuing the people.
CBP said there were 386 rescues in December, totaling 1,362 for all of 2023.