Total southern border encounters, ‘gotaways’ greater than population of 23 U.S. states

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Venezuelan migrant Jesus Gonzalez, who broke his leg while crossing the Darien jungle, walks with his family who are part of a migrant caravan walking to the U.S. border. Marco Ugarte | AP

President Joe Biden and his administration insist the southwest U.S. border is closed and federal immigration laws are being enforced.

But since Biden took office, more than 3 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally from over 150 countries, according to Customs and Border Patrol data. And that number doesn’t include so-called “gotaways,” the term used for those crossing the border illegally who evade capture. 

CBP doesn’t report the number of gotaways publicly, but Border Patrol agents who spoke to The Center Square said they total more than a million since Biden took office, setting the total number of border crossings at more than 4 million.

In 17 months, those entering the U.S. illegally total more than the individual populations of 23 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Of the most populous of these 23 states, those entering illegally since Biden took office total slightly more than Oklahoma’s population of 4 million; more than Connecticut’s 3.5 million; more than Utah’s 3.3 million; more than Nevada’s 3.3. million.

In the first five months of this year alone, more than 1 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally. They total more than the individual populations of Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The number encountered/apprehended in May 2022 was 239,416, according to CBP data, a new monthly record high. That’s after a previous record high in April.

In April, CBP reported 235,478 total encounters; in March, 222,239; in February, 165,902; in January, 154,816.

The last two months alone equals roughly the size of the population of Wyoming being encountered entering the U.S. illegally.

The majority of them have been released into the U.S., including a record number of unaccompanied minors. This is in addition to another estimated more than 1 million got-aways, those who’ve made their way into the U.S. evading capture.

Those in law enforcement have expressed concerns to The Center Square that the got-aways are the ones who keep them up at night. Those evading capture, not surrendering to Border Patrol requesting asylum, or making other immigration claims are more likely those with criminal records and don’t want to be caught, they say.

Images captured by private land owner’s critter cams, hidden cameras, and drone footage of mostly single military-age men walking across their property at night at the southern border in Texas, regularly shared with The Center Square, show many wearing camouflage, carrying backpacks, and other gear. 

Law enforcement officers say they don’t know who they are, where they are now, or really how many there are in the U.S.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.