Vicky Arias, FISM News
The recently published Customs and Border Protection (CBP) report for January reflected a 40% drop in total migrant encounters even as encounters with suspected terrorists and unaccompanied minors went up. However, the data revealed only part of a bigger statistical picture.
Migrant encounters did, indeed, drop 40% in January – from 251,978 in December 2022 to 156,274 in January 2023 – but that number doesn’t include the number of individuals who are known to authorities but evaded apprehension, known as “got aways.” CBP doesn’t disclose the number of got aways as part of its monthly migrant encounters reports.
According to The Center Square, close to 60,000 migrants were classified as got aways in January, bringing the total number of apprehensions and individuals who evaded capture to 215,998 for the month of January.
Additionally, an analysis by FISM News found that border protection encounters with suspected terrorists and unaccompanied minors increased.
According to CBP data, encounters of non-U.S. citizens who are on terrorist watchlist by CBP between ports of entry is higher in 2023 than in any other year that’s available on CBP’s data portal, which goes back to 2017. According to CBP, “[encounters] may include multiple encounters of the same individual.”
In fact, in each year of President Donald Trump’s presidency, no more than six encounters from the suspected terrorist watchlist were enumerated by CBP between ports of entry. That figure stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration’s statistics for the same category.
In fiscal year 2022, 98 encounters from the watchlist were listed by CBP and just in the current fiscal year to date — which is from Oct. 1 to mid-Feb., or about 18 weeks — CBP has listed 53 encounters from the watchlist between ports of entry.
Border protection declares that the terrorist “watchlist is the U.S. government’s database that contains sensitive information on terrorist identities … [with] information on known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) … [and] has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals.”
In addition to the terrorist threats, an analysis of CBP data reveals that encounters with unaccompanied minors, who are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking, have increased when comparing the Jan. 2022 CBP report to the Jan. 2023 CBP report. In Jan. 2022, 8,777 unaccompanied minors were encountered by CBP, and in Jan. 2023, those encounters jumped by 616 individuals, to 9,393.
According to a 2018 study, “it is estimated that between 75–80% of newly arriving unaccompanied children are victims of human trafficking, as they travel into the U.S. with smugglers who then sell them into forced labor or prostitution.”
Republicans in the House in Jan. began an investigation into the Biden administration’s border policies and their impact on the crisis at the border.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) recently spoke about the investigation.
“Republicans will hold the Biden Administration accountable for this ongoing humanitarian, national security, and public health crisis that has turned every town into a border town,” Comer said.