More than 73,000 illegal immigrants evaded Border Patrol agents in November, according to new data seen by Fox News, marking the highest number ever recorded at the southern border.
The number of “gotaways” refers to the number of illegal immigrants who have evaded overwhelmed Border Patrol agents and have been detected by other forms of surveillance but not caught. It does not count those who were not spotted.
The number of gotaways for November means that there are already over 137,000 gotaways so far this fiscal year, which began in October. In FY2022 there were nearly 600,000 gotaways. There were 389,155 gotaways at the border in FY2021.
The November numbers means that there have been an average of at least 2,400 people evading Border Patrol every day.
The data also indicates that there have been at least 207,000 migrant encounters in November, which would be significantly higher than the 174,000 encountered in November last year, and the 72,113 encountered in November 2020.
There were more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in FY2022 and more than 1.7 million in FY2021. So far, FY2023 is on track to exceed both of those numbers.
Fox News reported Wednesday that in Texas’ El Paso Sector alone there were 1,926 migrant encounters in the span of 24 hours, bringing the total for the fiscal year up to 105,263 for the sector. That’s up 257% compared to this time last year, which itself was the highest number on record.
One Border Patrol agent told Fox that it had been a “rough” first quarter for agents.
“No support. No backup. No leadership,” they said.
The numbers come just as there are increased fears of a renewed migrant surge as the Title 42 public health order — which has been used to expel a majority of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic — will be wound down later this month after a court found its use unlawful.
That has led to concerns from Border Patrol agents, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers, that the Biden administration may soon find itself overwhelmed with increased numbers on top of the already-historic highs it has been seeing.
The Biden administration sought to wind down the order back in April, but was blocked by a different federal judge. Since then it had expanded the use of the Trump-era authority to include Venezuelan nationals, whose numbers had spiked over the summer. That ability will end on Dec. 21.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has sought to assuage concerns by telling lawmakers that the agency has a six-point plan in place which includes a surge in resources and technology, a heightened anti-smuggling campaign and the increased use of penalties and alternative removal authorities.
“What we are doing is precisely what we announced we would do in April of this year, and we have indeed been executing on the plan,” he said last month.
Mayorkas has also sparked outrage from Republicans by claiming repeatedly — along with other administration figures, including Vice President Kamala Harris — that the border is secure.
“Look, the border is secure,” he said in July. “We are working to make the border more secure. That has been a historic challenge.”