(CNSNews.com) - For the past ten months, encounters of illegal aliens at the southwest border have exceeded 200,000, but the 251,487 known to have crossed in December breaks all previous monthly records.
The 251,487 undocumented migrants encountered at the border in December 2022 is up 7 percent from the 234,896 encountered in November 2022; up 40.29 percent from the 179,253 encountered in December 2021; and up a whopping 239.87 percent from the 73,994 undocumented migrants encountered in December 2020, the final month of Donald Trump's presidency.
So how do you spin those numbers? U.S. Customs and Border Protection found a way, announcing in a press release:
“The December update shows our new border enforcement measures are working. Even as overall encounters rose because of smugglers spreading misinformation around the court-ordered lifting of the Title 42 public health order, we continued to see a sharp decline in the number of Venezuelans unlawfully crossing our southwest border, down 82 percent from September 2022,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller.
“Early data suggests the expanded measures for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans are having a similar impact, and we look forward to sharing the additional data in the next update."
On January 5, the Department of Homeland Security announced a "safe and lawful way" for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans with U.S.-based supporters to come to this country, live here "temporarily," and apply for work permits. Those who don't follow the new rules will be turned back to Mexico -- if they are caught, that is. A similar policy was implemented earlier for Venezuelans.
Yet the caravans keep coming, as the chart below shows:
President Joe Biden, speaking to the nation's mayors in Washington on Friday, noted that immigration is a "major issue affecting many of your communities."
"I visited the border earlier this month, the first time as president," Biden said (although he didn’t see a single migrant while he was there).
"And I’m taking action where I have the legal capacity to do so. I’ll continue to call on Congress to act to pass comprehensive immigration reform to fix the system. (Applause.)
"The first bill I introduced was a comprehensive reform legislation on immigration. But because of some in the Congress, they refused to consider it. They found it a better issue to campaign on than an issue to solve.
"So, we have a choice: They can keep using immigration to try to score political points, or we can help solve the problem. Immigration reform used to be a bipartisan issue. And we can make it that again, in my view."
Biden's "day one" immigration bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions ofo undocumented people already in this country, while "ensuring that the United States remains a refuge for those fleeing persecution."
It calls for "smart border controls," and it would supplement existing border resources "with technology and infrastructure."
It also would provide billions of dollars to address the "root causes" of migration, namely, the corruption and instability in Central and South America. It also includes money to reduce immigration court backlogs, and it would eliminate the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims.
Republicans insist that border security comes before any so-called "reforms."
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told "Sunday Morning Futures" that Republicans plan to advance bills that secure the border, and he said he hopes to get support for such bills in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"I hope we get Senator Manchin and other Democrat senators who have blocked any attempt to secure the border, because we're going to be sending a package of bills to secure the border to get control of this problem," Scalise said.
"I mean, you talked about the people on the terrorist watch list, those are just the ones we've caught. How many have come across that we don't even know about?
"And we're seeing, by the way, not just countries from the southern border, we're seeing from countries all around the world, over 150 countries, coming across our southern border because Joe Biden opened it up. He could close it on his own, he won't.
“We're going to bring legislation to show the country how to fix this problem. Let's get the senate engaged so they can pass that bill to the president."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it has detained 38 people on the terrorist watchlist between ports of entry so far in Fiscal 2023, which started in October. A total 98 people on the terrorist watchlist were encountered and detained in Fiscal Year 2022. No one knows how many got away.
The Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) – also known as the “watchlist” – is the U.S. government’s database that contains sensitive information on terrorist identities.
The TSDS originated as the consolidated terrorist watchlist to house information on known or suspected terrorists but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals.