The official border encounters numbers for April haven’t been released yet but CNN got a look at the numbers for the first three weeks of last month and they suggest we’re going to see numbers slightly higher than what we saw in March.
Throughout April, Customs and Border Protection has encountered an average of just under 6,000 people daily at the southern border, according to a Department of Homeland Security official, which is in line with the March average of around 5,560 people daily.
During the first three weeks of April, around 122,000 people were encountered by US border authorities on the southwest border, another signal that the month will likely be similar to March, according to preliminary data obtained by CNN.
The total number of apprehensions in March was 172,000 which does work out to just over 5,500 per day. If we had 122,000 in the first three weeks of April that would be about 5,800 a day. So we can probably anticipate final number for April of around 174,000. CNN refers to this as a “plateau,” which I guess is true but the important part is that it’s a plateau at levels we haven’t seen for 20 years. It’s only good news in the limited sense that at least the situation doesn’t appear to be getting even worse.
There’s also another problem. As Ed pointed out last month, these numbers apparently don’t include the very significant number of people crossing the border without encountering the border patrol. From the Washington Post:
Nearly 1,000 people per day are sneaking into the United States without being identified or taken into custody because U.S. border agents are busy attending to migrant families and unaccompanied children while also trying to stop soaring numbers of male adults, according to three U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials familiar with the data.
While CBP has never claimed to interdict every border crosser, the number of so-called got aways recorded in recent weeks is the highest in recent memory, said two of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the data.
CNN acknowledges that trend got worse in April:
Recently, an average of around 1,500 people daily have evaded law enforcement at the border, the number of so called “got aways” that the agency detects through a variety of technological and other tracking efforts, according to the official.
Hopefully, we’ll get a solid report on this from someone like Nick Miroff at the Post. Obviously if CBP estimated 1,000 people were getting away per day in March and in April they are saying that number is up to 1,500 per day, then maybe we aren’t really seeing a plateau of border crossings so much as a plateau of CBP’s ability to apprehend them. They have limited resources and most of those are now taken up dealing with the families and unaccompanied minors who are coming across in large groups, sometimes 100 or more, and turning themselves in to claim asylum.
The “got aways” are presumably single adults who know they would be turned away under Title 42 if they turned themselves in to CBP. So when the Biden administration claims they are turning everyone but children at the border, don’t forget the big asterisk on those claims. They are turning away the single adults they apprehend, but they aren’t apprehending about 1,500 illegal migrants a day.