EXCLUSIVE: The Biden administration has told lawmakers that an average of 5,000 illegal immigrants are currently being released into the U.S. each day at the border, while there were over 670,000 illegal immigrants who evaded Border Patrol last fiscal year, Fox News has learned.
In a briefing on Friday to the Arizona congressional delegation, House and Senate Judiciary committees and the House and Senate Homeland Security committees, Fox is told that Department of Homeland Security officials told lawmakers that there were around 670,000 known “gotaways” at the border last fiscal year. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had previously acknowledged that the number was over 600,000.
Lawmakers have also been told there is an average of 5,000 illegal immigrants released each day to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who provide migrants with assistance and will sometimes help them get to their destinations. If that pace holds throughout the entire year that would be over 1.8 million illegal entrants in that timeframe.
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Meanwhile, at the ports of entry, an average of 1,600 migrants are being processed and released via the use of humanitarian parole each day under the CBP One app. That authority is set by Congress to be used on a “case-by-case basis” for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Republicans have sought to limit the use of the authority, claiming the administration is abusing it — something officials have denied repeatedly.
Border Patrol agents have encountered migrants from over 150 countries, lawmakers were told.
The daily record for encounters was broken this week when over 12,000 migrants hit the border in a single day. That comes after a record-setting 2.4 million encounters in FY23 and an all-time monthly high of over 260,000 in September. Officials said that there have been over 440,000 encounters since Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year began.
The Tucson Sector, which has been at the center of the most recent migrant surge that has seen hundreds of mostly male adult migrants queued up against the border fence, agents are outmanned 200 to 1 in the field, officials said.
The Biden administration has been calling for additional border funding from Congress with a $14 billion request, which includes funding for migrant care, costs related to expedited removal and help for cities. But that has been blocked so far as Republicans seek limits on releases into the U.S. by increasing asylum screening standards and reducing parole use — proposals at which some Democrats have balked.
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The administration has said overall that it is dealing with a hemisphere-wide crisis and needs funding and immigration reform to fix what it says is a broken system. The administration has touted a significant expansion of “lawful migration pathways” while also claiming it has increased consequences for illegal entry in the wake of the end of Title 42 in May.
At the briefing, officials were asked what the U.S. government is doing to work with Mexico to stop masses of migrants riding on trains to the border. An official said they have stressed to authorities that the “safety and security” of noncitizens” is a major concern given they are riding the trains illegally in an “unsafe” manner, but offered no details on trying to stop migrants getting on trains in the first place.
President Biden this week attempted to break the gridlock on solutions to the border by saying he was open to “significant compromises,” although DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the administration’s handling of the crisis and suggested that some GOP proposals were off the table.
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“We’ve presented proposals that address the situation, that provide real practical solutions and also do not do violence to our fundamental values,” he said on CNN. “We are a country of refugees. We do have asylum laws. We do have refugee laws. We abide by our international obligations that are long-standing,” he said. “And so that is my response to that.”
“Some of the [Republican] proposals are reasonable and worthy of discussion. Others are, frankly, not,” he said.