Illegal Alien Encounters at Southern Border Increase in November

On December 17, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released data on the number of unlawful migrants encountered along the Southwest border in November. The data show border authorities encountered 173,620 illegal aliens last month – a 5 percent increase from the encounters made in October. November’s figures also surpassed the 72,113 encounters reached in the same month in Fiscal Year 2021 – a whopping 140 percent increase. In fact, last month’s encounters are the highest monthly total for November in more than 20 years.

The data also show of the 173,620 illegal aliens encountered last month, 25 percent attempted to enter the U.S. unlawfully at least once within the past 12 months, nearly doubling the unauthorized re-entry rate of 13 percent between FY 2014 and 2019.

The southern border typically experiences a decrease in encounters in November, as it is considered to be a part of the “slower season.” It should be no surprise that President Biden’s anti-border enforcement policies are responsible for this rise in illegal immigration. His administration has eviscerated nearly every mechanism that has helped provide reasonable control over the Southwest border.

Despite his poor handling of immigration policy across the board, the president has preserved a few tools that have helped a bit in mitigating some unchecked migration. One of these aids is Title 42, which allows CBP to return migrants to their home countries for public health reasons. The Centers for Disease Control’s public health protocol expelled more than 50 percent of the 173,620 illegal aliens encountered last month. However, Biden has curtailed the effectiveness of Title 42, allowing family units, and unaccompanied alien minors to be exempted from the health measure.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration reinstated the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the policy requiring asylum-seeking foreign nationals to wait in Mexico until their claims are processed in the United States. While this sounds like a step in the right direction for border security, the reality is the Oval Office only did so due to a federal court order mandating the re-implementation of MPP. As FAIR pointed out, the Biden administration is doing the bare minimum to comply with the court mandate. Additionally, the administration has signaled it intends on scrapping MPP entirely once the court injunction is removed.

If President Biden is serious about slowing the flow of illegal immigration to our southern border, he should end his practice of applying half-measures to our border security. At a minimum, he should allow broader use of Title 42 and implement MPP to its fullest extent. He should also re-engage a slew of other measures with proven track records of securing the border. If he fails to take these actions, border encounters will likely skyrocket past the record-breaking 1.7 million encounters made in FY 2021.