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Southern border apprehensions and gotaways total over 135,000 in June

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At least 135,481 foreign nationals were apprehended or reported evading capture after illegally entering the southwest border in June, according to preliminary data obtained by The Center Square.

“Gotaways” is the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection term that refers to the number of people who are known and reported to illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry who intentionally try to evade capture by law enforcement and don’t return to Mexico. In June, gotaways totaled at least 32,840, with the greatest numbers reported in the Tucson and El Paso sectors, as they have nearly every month this year.

CBP doesn’t publicly report gotaway data. The data was obtained by The Center Square from a U.S. Border Patrol agent who provided it on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. It only includes Border Patrol data and excludes Office of Field Operations data. Total numbers would be higher if OFO data were included.

The numbers are significantly lower than previous months because the Biden administration is shifting illegal entry to the ports of entry, former acting CBP Chief and former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan told The Center Square. “As Border Patrol apprehensions go down [between ports of entry], the encounters at Office of Field Operations are skyrocketing,” he said. “There were over 90,000 OFO apprehensions in April. June will be higher.

“OFO apprehensions alone are on pace for one million encounters this fiscal year, a 300% increase from fiscal 2020.”

The Biden administration is “shifting the crisis from in between the ports of entry to the ports of entry themselves,” Morgan said while at the same time are calling the change “a new legal pathway and claiming victory. It’s a perversion and violation of the law. A big lie. One government sponsored shell game.”

As of June 10, the preliminary data for June in nine southwest border sectors include:

BIG BEND SECTOR

Apprehensions- 579

Turnbacks- 15

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 146

Unclassifiable Detection- 1

Gotaways Interior Zone- 47

No Violations- 1

Deceased- 1

Outstanding- 0

DEL RIO SECTOR

Apprehensions- 24,880

Turnbacks- 200

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 5,617

Unclassifiable Detection- 35

Gotaways Interior Zone- 1,212

No Violations- 65

Deceased- 22

Outstanding- 0

EL CENTRO SECTOR

Apprehensions- 1,978

Turnbacks- 268

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 179

Unclassifiable Detection- 0

Gotaways Interior Zone- 11

No Violations- 3

Deceased- 3

Outstanding- 0

EL PASO SECTOR

Apprehensions- 13,838

Turnbacks- 2,804

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 6,613

Unclassifiable Detection- 1

Gotaways Interior Zone- 269

No Violations- 25

Deceased- 16

Outstanding- 0

LAREDO SECTOR

Apprehensions- 2,147

Turnbacks- 2,695

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 1,094

Unclassifiable Detection- 9

Gotaways Interior Zone- 308

No Violations- 96

Deceased- 2

Outstanding- 0

RIO GRANDE VALLEY SECTOR

Apprehensions- 11,715

Turnbacks- 2,092

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 1,321

Unclassifiable Detection- 71

Gotaways Interior Zone- 436

No Violations- 92

Deceased- 15

Outstanding- 10

SAN DIEGO SECTOR

Apprehensions- 13,201

Turnbacks- 293

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 3,730

Unclassifiable Detection- 26

Gotaways Interior Zone- 3,253

No Violations- 11

Deceased- 0

Outstanding- 0

TUCSON SECTOR

Apprehensions- 25,090

Turnbacks- 474

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 6,588

Unclassifiable Detection- 45

Gotaways Interior Zone- 1,492

No Violations- 151

Deceased- 8

Outstanding- 0

YUMA SECTOR

Apprehensions- 9,213

Turnbacks- 72

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 506

Unclassifiable Detection- 0

Gotaways Interior Zone- 19

No Violations- 22

Deceased- 3

Outstanding- 0

Apprehensions refer to those who illegally enter the U.S. and surrender or are caught by Border Patrol agents. Turnbacks refer to those who illegally enter but return to Mexico. The gotaway data indicates where foreign nationals are detected illegally entering the U.S., at the Mexican border or farther north in the interior.

Unclassifiable detection isn’t part of 6 U.S. Code, which specifies how encounters are to be reported. It means agents, for a range of reasons, couldn’t determine citizenship. No-violations are individuals “deemed to have committed no infraction and don’t affect Got-Away statistics,” according to the internal tracking system Border Patrol agents use.

Both categories should be categorized as gotaways, the Border Patrol agent explained, assuming all non-arrests were of non-citizens.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story, Border Patrol agents and those in law enforcement have told The Center Square, because they don’t include unknown and unrecorded gotaways. Not all gotaways are recorded because not all are identified, which is why officials argue the number of people illegally entering the U.S. is believed to be much greater than reported.

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