Homeland Security claims progress as border numbers continue to set records

Border Patrol agents nabbed more than 204,000 illegal immigrants at the southern border last month, setting a new record for the month of October — though officials said they had made some progress.

After announcing a new get-tough policy on Venezuelan migrants, officials said their number dropped from 1,100 a day to about 300 a day.

But Cubans and Nicaraguans have surged, accounting for nearly 50,000 of the Border Patrol apprehensions. 

“This reflects the challenge that is gripping the hemisphere, as displaced populations flee authoritarianism, corruption, violence and poverty,” said Troy Miller, acting commissioner at Customs and Border Protection.

CBP released the October numbers just before midnight Monday, hours before Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was slated to begin several days of testimony on Capitol Hill. 

The numbers also came days after President Biden ousted Chris Magnus, CBP’s commissioner, blaming him for the ongoing chaos.

The Border Patrol recorded 204,273 total apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico boundary.

CBP officers reported 26,405 more encounters with unauthorized migrants at the ports of entry, more than 3,000 of them being Russians.

Border Patrol agents reported nabbing nine migrants whose identities were flagged in the government’s terrorist screening database. That’s a dip from September, but still marks a continuation of the record pace in the Biden administration.

CBP’s fentanyl seizures rose slightly, while methamphetamine and heroin seizures were down. Cocaine seizures more than doubled for the month.

Officials believe that when seizures go up, more drugs are sneaking through.

Almost all of the fentanyl was seized coming through the official ports of entry. Immigrant-rights advocates say that shows fentanyl should not be considered an immigration issue.

The Washington Times reported earlier this month on some of the October numbers, including nearly 87,000 “gotaways” — those whom the Border Patrol detected coming across but knows weren’t apprehended. 

In parts of Arizona, agents say they missed roughly as many migrants as they managed to catch.

The “gotaways” make it tougher to evaluate the official apprehension numbers, though CBP did celebrate the progress with Venezuelans.

More than 33,000 were caught entering in September, but those numbers dropped to 22,044 in October. At the start of the month, Homeland Security announced a new program to welcome a relatively small number of Venezuelans who applied from outside the U.S. — and said those who showed up without going through that process would be expelled back into Mexico.

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