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Nearly 216,000 apprehended, gotaways reported of illegal entries at southern border in January

Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

At least 156,274 people illegally entered the U.S. in January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data published on Friday, down 40% from 251,978 in December 2022, it says. The data excludes gotaway numbers referring to those who are known and reported to illegally enter between ports of entry, evade capture by law enforcement, and don’t return to Mexico or Canada. 

In December, at least 87,631 gotaways were reported in the nine southern border sectors, according to data obtained by The Center Square from a Border Patrol agent. The agent provided the information on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation; it only includes Border Patrol data and excludes Office of Field Operations data.

In January, gotaways totaled nearly 60,000, with the greatest numbers being reported in the El Paso and Del Rio sectors of Texas. Apprehensions and gotaways combined totaled at least 215,998 in January, according to the data.  

“The January monthly operational update clearly illustrates that new border enforcement measures are working, with the lowest level of Border Patrol encounters between Ports of Entry since February of 2021,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said. “Those trends have continued into February, with average encounters of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans plummeting.”

The monthly number is nearly as high as the total apprehensions for nine southwest sectors reported in fiscal 2017, excluding gotaways, of 303,916, according to CBP data. January’s monthly total is also greater than the total numbers apprehended in fiscal 1970 and each fiscal year through 1960 when Border Patrol began reporting the data by sector. 

Since President Biden’s been in office, monthly apprehensions of illegal foreign nationals surpassed a minimum of 150,000 for 23 consecutive months, with some months, including gotaways, like last November and December, totaling over 300,000 each.

According to preliminary Border Patrol data obtained by The Center Square, Texas continued to bear the brunt of illegal entries, with El Paso and Del Rio sectors seeing the most traffic. 

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