published : 2023-10-01

Migrant Numbers Reach Highest Ever Recorded in a Single Month

Record-breaking surge of migrant encounters at the southern border raises concerns

A photo of migrants walking along the southern border, captured with a Nikon D850.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources have revealed that migrant encounters at the southern border hit an all-time high in September, reaching a massive total of over 260,000.

This staggering number marks the highest monthly total ever recorded, highlighting the ongoing struggle border officials face in coping with an unprecedented crisis.

A close-up shot of Border Patrol agents working tirelessly to handle the border crisis, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The previous record of 252,320 encounters, set in December of last year, had given officials hope that their policies were effective in curbing migration.

However, the numbers saw a decline in 2023, attributing the drop to the end of Title 42 in May.

Aerial view of a crowded migrant holding facility, captured with a Sony Alpha A7 III.

Despite this temporary respite, migrant numbers soared again in July and August, with CBP announcing a staggering 230,000 encounters in August alone.

Moreover, agents on the ground have been dealing with new daily highs, encountering between 10,000 and 11,000 migrants each day, leading to the release of migrants onto the streets.

A group of Venezuelan migrants seeking asylum in Eagle Pass, Texas, photographed with a Fujifilm X-T4.

CBP officials have expressed deep concern over this surge, citing a critical timing given the ongoing political debate over spending in Washington D.C.

Border Patrol Agents, who play a vital role in national security, are considered essential employees and would still be required to work even in the event of a government shutdown, although they would not receive their paychecks until the government re-opens.

Border Patrol agents conducting security checks near the border, captured with a Sony Alpha A9 II.

Compounding the issue, several agents are currently traveling to other sectors and staying in hotels, resulting in mounting government credit card bills that agents must still pay despite the uncertainty of receiving their paychecks.

The House has just recently passed a 'clean' continuing resolution that extends funding at current levels through mid-November.

A photo of Republican lawmakers discussing border security measures in the House, taken with a Nikon Z7 II.

However, should Congress fail to reach a longer-term agreement, it could trigger another government shutdown, further exacerbating the challenges faced by border agents.

The possible shutdown has left many agents anxious about their financial security, especially those who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

An image of Senator Rick Scott introducing a bill to ensure border agents' pay during a government shutdown, photographed with a Canon EOS-1D X Mark III.

The uncertainty and concerns surrounding pay during potential government shutdowns have prompted Republican Senator Rick Scott from Florida to introduce measures ensuring that CBP and ICE staff receive their salaries, regardless of a shutdown.

This bill, cosponsored by Republican Senators Jim Risch, Tim Scott, Ron Johnson, Dan Sullivan, and Roger Wicker, has been endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council.

White House press conference addressing the border crisis, captured with a Sony Alpha A7R IV.

As the numbers of migrant encounters continue to break records, pressure mounts on the Biden administration to address the border crisis effectively.

Conservatives and Republicans have criticized the administration's handling of the border, attributing the crisis to the rollback of Trump-era policies and the narrowing of interior enforcement.

A photo of a border wall under construction, symbolizing the ongoing debate on border security, taken with a Fujifilm GFX 100S.

The administration has maintained that it is Congress's responsibility to provide additional funding and implement immigration reform to address the broken system.

However, the White House has warned that including certain border security measures proposed by House Republicans could lead to the elimination of 800 CBP agents, ultimately benefiting drug cartels.

Close-up shot of a CBP agent apprehending a migrant at the southern border, captured with a Nikon D6.

As the situation unfolds, the border crisis remains a focal point of debate, with its impact extending beyond the border communities and shaping national discussions on immigration and national security.