Border Patrol released over 900,000 illegal immigrants into the interior of the United States in Fiscal Year 2023, including more than 150,000 in September alone — offering an insight into how many migrants who crossed the border illegally are allowed to stay in the country.
The data on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website shows that 908,669 migrants were released by Border Patrol in FY 2023 after being encountered between ports of entry having crossed illegally. The figures do not include ICE releases or those encountered at ports of entry.
Those released were primarily given a NTA/OR (notice to appear on own recognizance), meaning they were released into the U.S. with instructions to appear in court, often at a date years in the future. A minority were released under humanitarian parole between October 2022 and January 2023.
In September, there were 155,914 migrants released into the U.S. by Border Patrol alone with NTAs. For context, there were 218,763 migrants encountered by Border Patrol agents in September, meaning the majority of those encountered between ports of entry were released into the U.S.
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For the entire fiscal year, 900,000 Border Patrol releases is a population size larger than several U.S. states, including Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and North and South Dakota. There were just over two million encounters by Border Patrol in FY 2023.
Overall, including ports of entry, there were 269,000 encounters in September — a historic high that took FY 23 to a new record with more than 2.4 million encounters. At the ports of entry, there were also over 350,000 NTAs issued.
The Biden administration recently called on Congress to provide an additional $14 billion in funding for border operations, including for processing, support for states and communities into which migrants have been released, and additional agents.
The White House says the money includes funding for transportation, including removal flights and resources for alternatives to detention. It also includes money for “non-custodial housing options” for those in expedited removal, including facilities with housing, legal services and medical care.
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The administration has said repeatedly that Congress needs to provide additional funding and pass legislation to fix a “broken” immigration system — pointing in particular to a 2021 package of legislation that would have included a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. It has also emphasized its expansion of lawful migration pathways. The Border Patrol data does not include migrants released into the U.S. via those programs, including the CBP One app and the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan (CHNV) parole program.
“At this time of unprecedented hemispheric and global challenges, we must come together to strengthen our ability to protect the American people. I strongly urge Congress to give the men and women of DHS the resources and support they need to achieve our safety and security mission,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement accompanying the funding request.
Republicans have passed their own legislation in the House which would increase border security, including wall construction, and limit asylum and parole releases. They have blamed the Biden administration’s policies, including reduced interior enforcement and releases of migrants, for fueling the crisis.
Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, pointed to the CBP numbers as an explanation for why the southern border “is out of control.”
“As long as Biden rewards illegal border crossers with a release into the United States, people will continue to come. And while all agents I am proud to associate with believe in protecting the innocent, to classify all these releases as humanitarian is a lie,” he said.
“We are overwhelmed and do not have the resources to properly vet and classify those we arrest. As long as we fail to properly enforce our immigration laws, the border will remain out of control,” he said.
Others called on Republicans in Congress, now armed with a new speaker in the House, to take action.
“The numbers are clear — the Biden administration has released more illegal aliens into American communities than any other year, many of whom were not detained, placed into electronic monitoring, or even issued an actual court date,” RJ Hauman, president of the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE), told Fox News Digital. “When will Congress wake up and end this deliberate ‘welcome and release’ chaos?”