U.S. Customs and Border Protection reached a 300,000 migrant got-away count for Fiscal Year 2021, according to an agency source speaking on the condition of anonymity. This figure represents the total number of migrants who avoid capture.
The total reached 250,000 in June. Nearly 50,000 escaped over the last 30 days. According to the source, on average, 1,600 migrants avoid capture daily. In 2020, 69,000 migrants managed to avoid apprehension by the Border Patrol.
The metric is usually not officially released. It is achieved by counting migrants who ultimately escape apprehension after being observed by surveillance systems. Border Patrol agents also use traditional sign-cutting techniques to spot footprints. It is not a perfect investigative method. Sources say the got-away count is usually lower than reality.
During this fiscal year, which began in October, more than 1 million migrants have been apprehended along the southern border. The June Southwest Border Land Encounters Report released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed a massive increase in apprehensions when compared to the same period one year earlier when agents apprehended only 129,077 migrants. From February 1 to June 30, Border Patrol agents apprehended 791,571 migrants who illegally crossed the border from Mexico.
This overwhelming surge in migrant traffic has led to overcrowding of Border Patrol facilities and has hampered the agency’s ability to patrol all areas of the border due to the humanitarian work required to care for and process detainees. This, according to the source, dilutes the accuracy of the count.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.