Five Facts on the Border Security Crisis

Five Facts on the Border Security Crisis

Polls continue to show that immigration and border security are the foremost concern of American voters. With unauthorized immigration into the US at record levels, it’s no surprise so many Americans are looking for President Biden and former President Trump to present their plan to solve this challenge.

Here are Five Facts on the border security crisis.

1. Encounters at the southern border sharply rose under former President Trump and President Biden.

A 2020 Pew study reported that apprehensions by U.S. border officials of migrants at the southern border hit a 12-year high in FY 2019 – the last full fiscal year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, encounters during the Biden administration have spiked particularly after the end of Title 42, the COVID-era provision that enable the president to deny entry to migrants for public health reasons.

2. Customs and Border Protection reported 2.5 million encounters of migrants occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2023.

That figure is the highest on record. The Wilson Center notes that for the first time, a majority of migrants apprehended at the southern border originated from beyond Mexico and northern Central America, reflecting the increasingly global flow of migrants to the southern border.

3. As of December 2023, there were more than three million pending asylum court cases in the U.S.

The large number of migrants claiming asylum – because they fear persecution in their home countries – at the southern border has created a backlog in the court system that has left each asylum judge with an average of 4,500 pending cases. The wait time for an asylum seeker’s day in court can now stretch upwards of six years. Significantly, the backlog of court cases increased by one million in just 12 months.

4. Pew Researchestimates that there were 10.5 million undocumented migrants living in the U.S. in 2021, the last year for which data was available.

Since the early 2000’s, the number of undocumented migrants in the U.S. has stayed consistently above 10 million. However, the demographics of undocumented migrants has changed in recent years, with fewer migrants of Mexican nationality and more migrants from nearly every other part of the world, including Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and Africa.

5. Gallup polling shows immigration is the top non-economic concern for Americans.

An astonishing 55 percent of Americans now view illegal immigration as a “critical threat to the U.S.”, the highest percentage on record. From October 2022 to September 2023, Border Patrol officials arrested 169 people whose names matched those on the U.S. terrorist watch list, something FBI Director Christopher Wray identified as a reason for concern.