January Border Numbers Reflect Ongoing Chaos

CBP last week released its statistics on the number of illegal migrants encountered at the Southwest border in January. In what is quickly becoming an evergreen observation, the numbers are bad, reflecting a border in chaos with no end in sight.

Apprehensions Fell Between December and January, but Are Still Bad. In January, Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border apprehended nearly 147,000 illegal migrants. On the bright side, the number of apprehensions was more than 14 percent lower than in December, but that is more because the December numbers were so dreadful than because the January numbers were good.

Illegal migration almost always craters in January before picking up again in February, as foreign nationals and smugglers spend the holidays with their families. Traditionally, apprehensions tick up through May, at which point they hit their yearly highs, and then fall through the height of the summer as the weather heats up.

The spring is not exclusively “travel season” for illegal migrants, but it is usually the height.

FY 2021 did not fit into this traditional pattern, and while illegal apprehensions crested last fiscal year in August, they have remained high ever since. Every month between last May and December set new monthly apprehension totals at the Southwest border.

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