(The Center Square) – The number of people illegally entering the U.S. solely through the southern border in the first four months of this year is greater than the population of Delaware, the home state of the president, and the populations of five other states.
So far this year, at least 1,047,528, people have been apprehended or reported evading capture, according to data analyzed by The Center Square. The total is greater than the estimated populations of Delaware (1,031,985), South Dakota (923,484), North Dakota (780,588), Alaska (732,294), Vermont (647,156) and Wyoming (583,279).
The numbers are larger than 290 of the 300 largest cities in the U.S., edging out the population of Austin, Texas, which is currently the 10th largest city.
Combined, they also total more than the individual estimated populations of 75 countries and territories, including Figi, Luxembourg and the Bahamas.
In April, at least 284,864 foreign nationals were apprehended or reported as gotaways, those who evade capture after illegally entering the U.S. In March, apprehensions and gotaways totaled at least 266,824; February’s numbers totaled at least 279,842; January’s totaled at least 215,998, according to the data.
The data is derived from official CBP reports in addition to gotaway data obtained by The Center Square from a Border Patrol agent. The agent provided the information on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. It only includes Border Patrol data and excludes Office of Field Operations data, meaning the numbers are higher than reported.
CBP does not make public the gotaway data. If it did, the numbers would be higher.
Last month was an anomaly, with the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Texas reporting roughly one-third fewer gotaways than it normally does, which indicates in part that there are fewer agents in the field to detect and report them. The majority of agents have been pulled off the line, away from their statutory duty of homeland security, to instead process a record number of foreign nationals who’ve illegally entered the U.S. to be released instead of removed.
The gotaway numbers also don’t tell the whole story, the Border Patrol agent and others in law enforcement have explained to The Center Square, because they don’t include unknown and unrecorded gotaways – as in the case of the RGV last month. Not all gotaways are recorded because not all are identified, meaning the number of those illegally entering the U.S. is expected to be much greater than reported.
The April numbers were released as CBP reported that at least 332 known or suspected terrorists have been apprehended at the southern and northern borders this fiscal year.
Former CBP Chief Tom Homan has warned that, “What’s happening is the greatest national security threat since 9/11. Border Patrol has arrested people from 171 countries. Many of these countries are sponsors of terrorism.”
Pointing to the record number of gotaways, now estimated to total over 1.7 million since January 2021, he said, “If you don’t think a single one of the 1.7 million is coming from a country that sponsors terrorism, then you’re ignoring the data. That’s what makes this a huge national security issue.”
Because Border Patrol agents have been pulled off the line, “not doing their law enforcement mission to protect our nation,” former CBP chief Mark Morgan said, “our borders [are] completely wide open, completely vulnerable.”
As a result, he said, the Biden administration has “literally handed over operational control over to the cartels. With no agents on the line, the cartels exploit this every day.”
“The amount of drugs pouring in through the border kill 9,000 Americans every 30 days,” Morgan said. “It’s equivalent to a fully loaded 737 [plane] crashing into a mountainside killing everybody on board – every single day.”