Sunday, May 19

New data reveals Illegal immigrants eluding Border Patrol spiked under Biden, surpassing predecessors

EXCLUSIVE: The number of illegal immigrants evading Border Patrol agents has skyrocketed under the Biden administration, new data obtained by Fox News shows.

The numbers of Border Patrol nationwide gotaways — illegal immigrants who avoided agents but were detected by other forms of surveillance such as cameras and sensors — were obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Fox in October.

They show that between FY 2010 and FY 2020 inclusive, there were over 1.4 million gotaways, ranging from a low of 86,226 in FY 2011 to a high of 171,663 in FY 2013.

BORDER PATROL OFFICIALS SAY THREAT POSED BY ‘GOTAWAYS’ AT SOUTHERN BORDER ‘KEEPS US UP AT NIGHT’ 

In FY 2020, there were 136,808 gotaways at the border. That number then rose to 387,398 in FY 2021, which coincided with the last months of the Trump administration and the first months of the Biden administration.

As the migrant numbers at the southern border rose to crisis levels, so did the number of gotaways — with numbers then skyrocketing to 606,131 in FY 2022 and 670,674 in FY 23.

This means that there were more gotaways in FY21-23 (1.6 million) than the decade of FY 2010 and FY 2020 (1.4 million).

So far in FY 24, which began in October, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources have told Fox News separately there have been more than 175,000 gotaways.

Officials have regularly expressed concern about the numbers crossing without being encountered, even though it is a relatively small number compared to the more than 1.3 million migrants encountered this fiscal year.

“That number is a large number, but what’s keeping me up at night is the 140,000 known gotaways,” Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens told CBS News in March, when numbers were lower.

ILLEGAL MIGRANTS FROM THIS FOREIGN ADVERSARY ARE INCREASINGLY CROSSING THE BORDER

“If a person is willing to put themselves into harm’s way crossing through very remote, very dangerous conditions to evade capture, you have to ask yourself why. What makes them willing to take that risk?” he told a House committee in May 2023. “That’s of concern to me. What’s also of concern to me is I don’t know who that individual is. I don’t know where they came from. I don’t know what their intention is. I don’t know what they brought with them. That unknown represents a risk, a threat. It’s of great concern to anybody that wears this uniform.”

Officials have also said that, due to increased investments in technology, there is greater situational awareness than before, leading to more detections of “gotaways” than in prior years.

“Because we have gotten more detection capability, because we have…more on the way, we’ve got the additional processing coordinators, we are in a better situation than we were in years past,” Owens said.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has previously noted changes in migration flow in correspondence with Congress.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

“Before 2013, the majority of individuals attempting to cross the border entered without being caught,” he said in a letter in January to the House Homeland Security Committee. “Under this administration, the estimated annual apprehension rate has averaged 78%, the same average rate of apprehension as in the prior administration.”

DHS has instead said it is working within a “broken” immigration system in desperate need of reform and additional funding from Congress. It has also pointed to 720,000 removals or returns of illegal immigrants since May 2023, more than in every full fiscal year since 2011.  

Most recently it has backed a bipartisan Senate bill that would increase funding, while also providing a mechanism to turn back border crossers when they reach a certain level. But conservative lawmakers rejected that measure, saying it would normalize high levels of illegal immigration.

Fox News’ Griff Jenkins and Emmett Jones contributed to this report.

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