(The Center Square) – Nearly 303,000 people illegally entered the U.S. through the southwest border in September, according to newly released U.S. Customs and Border Protection data and gotaway data first reported by The Center Square.
Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations agents apprehended 269,735 people last month and Border Patrol agents reported at least 33,203 known gotaways, bringing the total to 302,938.
Gotaways is the official CBP term used for foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry, intentionally evade capture and don’t return to Mexico or Canada. CBP doesn’t publicly report gotaway data. The Center Square obtains preliminary data from a U.S. Border Patrol agent who provides it on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. It only includes Border Patrol data not OFO data.
The gotaway data is believed to be much higher than reported because it doesn’t include unknown and unrecorded gotaways. With the majority of agents no longer in the field, they are unable to detect how many are getting through. Agents have explained to The Center Square they have no idea how many gotaways there really are in the U.S., who or where they are.
The official CBP total of 269,735 apprehensions is the highest in recorded history.
It includes OFO data, which is why it is always higher than the preliminary data The Center Square obtains. OFO agents work at ports of entry. Border Patrol agents are tasked with primarily patrolling the border between ports of entry.
OFO agents also processed 43,000 people through the CBP One App. Since DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a new directive and the agency began scheduling appointments for illegal foreign nationals to use the phone app, nearly 278,000 “have successfully scheduled appointments to present at a port of entry” using the app from January to September of this year, according to CBP data.
The news comes as the Biden administration has yet to replace the former CBP Commissioner who was forced to resign for overall failures related to border security. Since then, the agency has been publishing monthly apprehension data late on Friday nights or early Saturday morning towards the middle or end of the month.
Troy Miller, a senior official performing the duties of CBP Commissioner, issued a statement Saturday along with the data, saying, “In response to high rates of encounters across the southwest border in September, CBP surged resources and personnel. We are continually engaging with domestic and foreign partners to address historic hemispheric migration, including large migrant groups traveling on freight trains, and to enforce consequences including by preparing for direct repatriations to Venezuela.”
CBP repatriated 130 Venezuelans in September, less than zero percent of the tens of thousands who entered the U.S. illegally, according to CBP data.
Since Miller has been releasing data over the past few months, the news releases exclude demographic data about those being apprehended. The data is available on the CBP website in different charts.
For example, the majority of encounters and apprehensions in September, as they were in nearly all previous months, are of single adults from all over the world, followed by individuals in family units, and unaccompanied minors.
Border Patrol and OFO agents apprehended 102,582 and 29,435 single adults in September, respectively, according to the data compiled by demographic.
However, in September, Border Patrol agents apprehended a record 103,027 individuals in a family unit, the most of any month in fiscal 2023. OFO agents apprehended 20,788 in the same category last month by comparison.
Border Patrol agents apprehended 13,154 unaccompanied single minors; OFO agents apprehended 617 unaccompanied single minors and 132 accompanied minors last month, according to the data.
Southwest land border encounters by component shows Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended the greatest number of people last month of 51,001. Three of the largest numbers were in Texas: Rio Grande Valley Sector apprehended 45,764; Del Rio Sector apprehended 45,688; El Paso Sector apprehended 38,148. Rounding out the top five with the most apprehensions was San Diego Sector’s 26,609.
At ports of entry along the southwest border, Laredo OFO and San Diego OFO agents apprehended 23,560 and 15,394, respectively.