A Record Year for Apprehensions, but What About Those Who Got Away?



The end of September marks the end of the fiscal year. So as annual totals are tallied for vast number of federal departments and projects, one stands out above the rest: the total number of apprehensions at the United States’ southern border with Mexico.

When combined with those who tried to enter the country via a port of entry but were found to be inadmissible, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers apprehended nearly one million individuals in FY 2019. That is nearly double the total from FY 2018, and is the highest since FY 2007 – the final year before the U.S. economy suffered from a major recession.

While most elitist corporate news outlets will focus on the total number of apprehensions, another important figure is largely ignored: the number of those who successfully enter the country without detection. Since it’s impossible to nail down an exact figure of how many illegal aliens managed to enter the U.S. in any given year, most pundits avoid talking about the matter at all.

However, in 2017, CBP released a report detailing that they know for a fact roughly 106,000 border crossers successfully escaped apprehension efforts despite being observed/pursued by law enforcement during FY 2016. Furthermore, the agency conservatively estimated that another 65,000 entered the U.S. without any detection. These figures do not include those who are apprehended, then released into the country with an immigration court date, such as commonly occurs with asylum applicants, unaccompanied alien minors, or family units from countries other than Mexico (which make up a greater share of apprehensions now than in past years). At least 35 percent of these migrants never show up for their day in court.

Additionally, these figures also exclude those who illegally crossed into the United States via the northern border, as well as those who entered lawfully but stayed in the country after their visas expired.

So what does this mean about the illegal alien population in the United States? The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) did the math and determined that, since our last estimate in 2017, the illegal alien population in the United States has grown by approximately 1.8 million. That brings the total up to 14.3 million – a record number.

FAIR’s number is considerably higher than what most pro-amnesty groups estimate. In fact, many suggest that the illegal alien population has actually somehow decreased. This assertion is nonsense. Whether one examines just the simple and obvious data, or takes a deep dive into figures from the Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security, the simple truth is that everything points to an alarming increase in the number of illegal aliens residing in the United States.

This concerning trend can still be reversed, but it will take honest and decisive action from Congress. First of all, the asylum loopholes that have allowed thousands of migrants to fraudulently enter the country must be closed. Additionally, the federal government needs to end the incentives that fuel illegal immigration in the first place. This is best done by enacting mandatory E-Verify, which would drastically decrease the hiring of illegal aliens, and stopping state and local governments from establishing “sanctuary jurisdictions” that protect illegal aliens from federal law enforcement.

FAIR estimates that, at the current rate, there will be more than 21 million illegal aliens in the country by 2025, costing taxpayers $200 billion annually. Until serious action is taken to stem the tide of illegal immigration, the safety and financial well-being of American citizens (and those migrants who are in the country lawfully) will remain at risk.

About Author

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Spencer joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2015. He conducts research, and writes content for FAIR’s publications and website. He brings previous experience in state politics, gubernatorial and district campaigns, and D.C. political non-profits. Spencer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

4 Comments

  1. avatar

    It means those 14.5 millions illegals most are freeloaders manufactured lots of babies born here

  2. avatar

    While I accept your number of 14 plus million illegals in our country being more realistic than the figures of other groups, I still must remind everyone that this number is really just a best guess. It is truly shameful that no one, especially our government, actually knows the number of foreign noncitizens living in our country, including these groups: visa overstays, illegal aliens not caught at the border, legal immigrants never becoming citizens, TPS foreigners that should have returned home years ago, babies born annually to forrign noncitizens, babies born annually to noncituzen refugees and asylees, etc. Yet, the leftists and democrats scream against our census even asking a question about citizenship. I, personally, believe the issue of foreign noncitizens living here at our expense is much greater than any of us know.

  3. avatar

    “However, in 2017, CBP released a report detailing that they know for a fact that roughly 106,000 border crossers escaped apprehension efforts despite being observed/pursued by law enforcement in FY 2016.”

    And keep in mind those are the figures from 2016, a year whose figures were small compared to this year’s massive flood of illegal crossings. Imagine how many crossed unchallenged this year because they knew that agents were tied up several miles away, processing groups of a hundred or more. That’s why the border patrol says a wall of double layer fence helps them in their efforts because it slows crossers down so agents can get to that area, rather than have the illegals dash across the border and well into this country in a couple of minutes.

    But just listen to the media and all the open border flacks carry on about how walls “don’t work” and 30 foot ladders and all the other nonsense they spout. The fact is they don’t want walls or fences in spite of the fact that common sense and actual reality on the ground shows they do work. The Clinton administration built a double layer fence along the San Diego border in the 90s that reduced crossings there to almost nothing and caused illegals to take the much more difficult Arizona/New Mexico crossings. But hey, 30 foot ladders, which apparently the border patrol will be unable to observe as they are dragged up to the border and set up to be climbed over, balance on the top and then climb down the other side. Nope, that won’t take crossers any extra time.

    One of the great displays of hypocrisy in all the tears over Shepard Smith leaving Fox. Never mind that Fox is the only network that is somewhat conservative, but still has several hosts like Smith who regularly criticize Trump. But name one, just one, host on MSNBC or CNN that is pro-Trump or pro-conservative. So much for “fairness”.

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