2022 sets records for number of border crossings, migrant deaths

Reuters/Jose de Jesus Cortes
Reuters/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Fiscal year 2022 saw a record number of migrant crossings and deaths as illegal immigration remains a significant issue for voters heading into the midterm elections. 

Statistics compiled by the United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) revealed 2,378,944 encounters between illegal immigrants and law enforcement officials at the U.S. border with Mexico in fiscal year 2022, which concluded Sept. 30. The number of encounters increased dramatically from fiscal year 2021, which recorded 1,734,686 border crossings. The number doesn't include the number of migrants who evaded Border Patrol agents. 

The number of illegal immigrants apprehended monthly has exceeded 200,000 each month since May. The number of encounters peaked at 241,136 in May before dropping for the following two months, increasing slightly in August and rising to 227,547 in September.

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A statement from CBP attributed the surge in border crossings to an influx in illegal immigration from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, noting that statistics for October 2022, the first month of fiscal year 2023, will show a decrease in the number of encounters between law enforcement and illegal immigrants. CBP leadership credited the Biden administration’s new policy authorizing immigration officials to return most Venezuelan migrants to Mexico for reducing the flow of illegal immigration.

“While failing regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua continued to drive a new wave of migration across the western Hemisphere, the number of Venezuelans arriving at the southern border decreased sharply nearly every day since we launched additional joint actions with Mexico to reduce irregular migration and create a more fair, orderly, and safe process for people fleeing the humanitarian and economic crisis in their country,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus.

Magnus acknowledged that the drop in border crossings is “not reflected in the latest report,” which only includes data from September. Official statistics outlining apprehensions at the southern border in October 2022 will be released sometime in November. 

While CBP and President Joe Biden cite the changing demographic makeup of the border crossers as the reason for the explosion in illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, critics of the Biden administration sounded the alarm about an overwhelmed southern border at the beginning of 2021. Specifically, they pointed to the Biden administration’s abandonment of the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy that required those seeking asylum in the U.S. to remain in Mexico while their claims were adjudicated as the cause of the border surge. 

The surge in border crossings has overwhelmed towns along the U.S.-Mexico border and prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, to begin sending illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C., as part of an effort to make federal lawmakers aware of the consequences of not securing the border. Abbott later expanded the cross-country transportation of migrants to other major cities that declare themselves “sanctuary cities” that open themselves up to illegal immigrants, including New York City and Chicago

In addition to the record number of migrant crossings in fiscal year 2022, the past year also saw a record number of deaths at the border. According to CBP data obtained exclusively by Fox News, a record-breaking 856 migrants died at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022.

The latest statistics reinforce voters’ concerns about the issue of illegal immigration heading into the upcoming midterm elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years. Polling of 808 U.S. adults conducted by Monmouth University last week shows that a supermajority of respondents (65%) believe that it is “extremely” or “very” important for the federal government to address the issue of immigration.

A poll released earlier this month by Schoen Cooperman Research revealed that a similar share of voters (66%) living in the swing districts that will determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives either fully or partly blame Biden and congressional Democrats for the “immigration surge at the Southern border.” The same survey found that 46% of voters living in the 85 most competitive congressional districts trust Republicans to handle the issue of illegal immigration, while 44% think the Democrats would better address it. 

The RealClearPolitics average of polls measuring Biden’s job performance on the issue of immigration shows his net approval rating 24 points underwater. Only on the issue of inflation does the president receive a higher net disapproval rating of 28.8 points. The president’s net disapproval ratings on illegal immigration and inflation far exceed his overall net disapproval rating of 11.4 points.

With just about two weeks to go until the midterm elections, the RealClearPolitics average of polls taken over the past two weeks shows Republicans with a 3-point lead on the generic ballot, which asks voters which party they want to control Congress. 

The FiveThirtyEight Deluxe Model, which forecasts the outcome of elections by analyzing “polls, fundraising, past voting patterns” and the opinions of political experts, gives Republicans an 80% chance of retaking control of the U.S. House of Representatives while giving Democrats a 56% chance of maintaining control of the U.S. Senate. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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