A law enforcement source within Customs and Border Protection says more than 185,000 migrants escaped Border Patrol apprehension so far this fiscal year. On average, more than 30,000 illegal aliens avoided capture in the last 22 days the source said.
Breitbart Texas reported in mid-April, the “got-away” total exceeded more than 155,000 leaving Border Patrol leadership frustrated. Last year, 69,000 illegal migrants managed to avoid apprehension by the Border Patrol. In just over seven months of this fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2020, the number of “got-aways” nearly tripled last year’s totals. Sources report the sharpest increase began in January.
The metric is usually not released by the Department of Homeland Security. It is achieved by counting illegal immigrants who ultimately escape Border Patrol apprehension after being observed by aircraft platforms and camera systems. In addition, Border Patrol agents using traditional sign-cutting techniques identify footprints crossing the border and count those that elude apprehension.
“That’s where it gets tricky,” says one Border Patrol agent who did not wish to be identified. “On a small trail, dozens can walk all over each other’s footprints, so you just do your best. Often, they’ll glue carpet to the soles of their shoes making detection even harder.”
Sources report for these reasons, the “got-away” count is usually lower than reality. How much so is debatable as the latter method of counting is not scientific. The increasing “got-away” numbers come as CBP reports its highest apprehension totals since 2006.
Despite the current administration’s refusal to call the immigration situation on the border a crisis, the recent surges are concerning. The increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border has Health and Human Services struggling to find sponsors within the United States. Many believe the impetus for the surges in illegal entries is being fueled by the promise of amnesty legislation. The Biden administration’s new policies regarding lax interior enforcement and a reduction in removals are also believed to be contributing to the surge in activity along the border.
Recent reports concerning the reduced patrols being conducted by the Border Patrol are likely contributing to the surge in the “got-away” count. Addressing the humanitarian needs of thousands of migrants crossing the border directly impacts the Border Patrol’s ability to patrol many remote areas. This situation is likely to worsen as the crisis develops.
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.