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FACTSHEET: Secretary Mayorkas Sets Another Record—The Most January Border Encounters Ever

February 20, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security released the “Startling Stats” factsheet detailing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) border encounter numbers for January 2024. Last month was the worst January on record for CBP, both nationwide (242,587) and at the Southwest border (176,205). The situation remains so dire that, for the first time since taking office, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently admitted that the chaos at the border was actually a “crisis,” after refusing for more than three years to do so.
While encounters dropped from December to January, decreased encounters in the early months of the year are not uncommon. Encounters at the Southwest border dropped from 179,253 in December 2021 to 154,874 in January 2022. The following year, the decrease was even more pronounced, going from 252,315 in December 2022 to 157,358 in January 2023. 
These numbers are far above crisis levels—and CBP remains completely overwhelmed. In 2019, former Secretary under President Barack Obama, Jeh Johnson, said that 1,000 encounters a day “overwhelms the system” and the number of encounters in March 2019 (103,731) constituted a crisis. 
Secretary Mayorkas’ approach to the border is fundamentally no different than it was last month—or any other during his tenure. His willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law continues to create perverse incentives for historic numbers of inadmissible aliens to cross our borders and be released into the interior. He has spurned commonsense solutions that would end the crisis, including reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols. Until these structural changes happen, we’re going to remain stuck in this crisis.


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