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Chairman Green for National Review: “The Border Crisis Numbers the Biden Administration Doesn’t Want You to Know”

October 30, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) penned an op-ed for National Review, detailing the unmitigated and unprecedented crisis at America’s borders, as illustrated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection data for Fiscal Year 2023 released Saturday. In the op-ed, Chairman Green details not only the record-breaking numbers recorded at America’s borders in FY 2023, but also how this crisis was caused by the reckless open-borders policies of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. For a factsheet on the data, click here.

Read the full op-ed below and here.

If you blinked, you missed it: Early Saturday morning, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly released the border-encounter numbers for September.

A look at those numbers, which also closed out fiscal year 2023, demonstrate why DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas clearly wanted them released while most Americans had their attention focused elsewhere.

Last month, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) documented an astounding 269,735 total encounters of inadmissible aliens at the southwest border, at or between U.S. ports of entry — around 17,000 encounters more than the previous record, also set on Mayorkas’s watch. When factoring in encounters along all of America’s borders, at or between ports of entry, the total jumped to 341,392 — another all-time high.

In FY 2023, CBP recorded more than 2.4 million encounters at the southwest border, a 42 percent increase from fiscal year 2021, Mayorkas’s and President Joe Biden’s first year in office, and a 4 percent increase from the 2,378,944 encounters in fiscal year 2022. Nationwide, encounters in FY 2023 totaled more than 3.2 million, a 63 percent jump from FY 2021 and a 15 percent increase from FY 2022.

Despite these historic numbers, which have completely overwhelmed Customs and Border Protection and other DHS law-enforcement officials, Mayorkas has continued to double down on his open-borders policies. In his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in late July, for example, he claimed: “Our approach of expanding lawful pathways for people to reach the border . . . is working. The number has dropped.”

Mayorkas isn’t telling the whole story. In June, following the end of the Title 42 public-health order, encounters dropped for a few weeks as the cartels pulled back to assess how to respond to the change in policy. As one source told the New York Post at the time, “the intel is that they are testing the waters, seeing who’s released into the United States and who is getting deported.” Even the chief of the Border Patrol at the time, Raul Ortiz, told members of my committee in an official briefing that he expected encounters to soon climb back to what CBP had been seeing for months.

These assessments proved true. In June, Border Patrol agents recorded 99,538 apprehensions along the southwest border. Apprehensions climbed to 132,642 in July, 181,054 in August, and 218,763 in September. Illegal crossings since June have continued to skyrocket, in large part due to Mayorkas’s policy of mass “catch and release.”

Mayorkas is either ignorant, or he’s simply lying about the consequences of his policies.

It’s not just illegal crossings between the ports of entry that are driving this crisis, either — it’s Mayorkas’s expansion of the legally dubious mass-parole programs that allow otherwise inadmissible aliens to enter the United States through official ports of entry.

In October 2022, CBP recorded around 71,000 encounters nationwide at these ports. By March 2023, that number had jumped to more than 94,000, following the implementation of Mayorkas’s CBP One app scheme and the new parole program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans. Last month, there were more than 121,000 encounters at U.S. ports — almost double the number from September 2022. In February 2021, Mayorkas’s first month in office, the number was fewer than 18,000.

And now we know, based on documents the House Committee on Homeland Security obtained from DHS under threat of subpoena, that just this year Mayorkas’s DHS released into the interior almost 96 percent of the 278,431 individuals who made appointments through CBP One.

Those journeying to the southwest border to make use of the CBP One app or other parole programs are still paying the cartels to get to the border, further enriching these criminal organizations. In fact, the cartels have even exploited the app itself in order to make more money off migrants. These inadmissible aliens are still overwhelming the ports of entry. And when they are released by Customs and Border Protection, they put the same strain on resources in communities across this country as those who are apprehended and released by the Border Patrol.

This simply cannot continue. Our country is at a tipping point. On Mayorkas’s watch, CBP has recorded more than 6.2 million encounters at our southwest border, and more than 7.5 million nationwide. Millions of these individuals have been released into the United States, and Homeland Security’s own reporting shows that if they are not removed within a year, historically they rarely are.

This does not even include the 1.7 million known “gotaways” who have evaded apprehension altogether and entered our country since January 2021, in large part thanks to Border Patrol agents being pulled off the line to process and release those who have been encouraged to cross on Mayorkas’s watch.

If September showed anything, it’s that this crisis is only getting worse. It’s time for the Senate to pass H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, and for Secretary Mayorkas to answer for sparking the worst border crisis in our history.