The number of migrants crossing the border without being apprehended since the start of Fiscal Year 2022 is more than 50,000, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection source. This figure represents an estimate of the total number of migrants believed to have escaped into the U.S. interior without apprehension by Border Patrol.
According to the source, more than 400,000 “got-away” migrants were recorded during the last fiscal year which ended on September 30. In Fiscal Year 2020, an estimated 69,000 migrants managed to avoid apprehension by the Border Patrol.
The source says the numbers are not a good sign this early in the fiscal year. In addition to the nearly 160,000 migrants the Border Patrol encountered during the month of October; more than 15,000 were arrested during the first three days of November. The Border Patrol is overwhelmed by the need to process and provide humanitarian care to more than 5,000 migrants per day during a pandemic.
The got-away metric is usually not officially released. The number is determined 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, however, and sources say the actual got-away count is usually greater.
The reduced number of actual Border Patrol agents available to perform routine duties means there are fewer opportunities to locate and document evidence of escaped migrants. The source says fresh footprints are erased by the elements in short order and traffic flow awareness is impeded when patrols are cancelled.
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.