Illegal immigration increases in February, new border figures reveal – Washington Examiner

The number of illegal immigrants encountered at the nation’s borders in February remained at the highest levels seen in national history, increasing slightly to more than a quarter million people encountered.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released Friday afternoon revealed 256,094 non-U.S. citizens were encountered attempting to enter the United States last month, up from 242,521 in January but down from 370,899 in December 2023.

The uptick comes at a time when the Biden administration is facing calls for retribution from House Republicans infuriated over the three-year border crisis and impeached Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is awaiting a Senate trial.

“We continue to experience serious challenges along our border which surpass the capacity of the immigration system,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of CBP Commissioner Troy A. Miller in a statement. “Despite the challenges we are facing along the southwest border, as well as the positive trends of increasing levels of trade and travel, CBP continues to surge enforcement to stop dangerous drugs from entering the country; our agents and officers interdicted 294% more methamphetamine, 164% more heroin, and 140% more cocaine in February than January.”

Of the 256,094 encounters, more than 142,000 were arrested by Border Patrol agents for illegally crossing the border between the ports of entry.

More than 86,000 immigrants who illegally crossed the border were single adults. More than 9,000 were unaccompanied children, and 46,000 arrived as part of a family.

The remaining 114,000 immigrants encountered were people who lacked proper documents to be admitted at a port of entry on the border, as well as immigrants who were paroled into the country through initiatives that the Biden administration has created to deter immigrants from crossing illegally. Republicans have decried the parole-based programs as going around the law as Congress intended.

A Border Patrol agent asks asylum-seeking immigrants to line up in a makeshift, mountainous campsite after the group crossed the border from Mexico on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, near Jacumba Hot Springs, California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have struggled to deal with the situation at the border, particularly after failing to pass a bipartisan immigration deal in the Senate.

This week, lawmakers passed a “minibus” of six department funding bills, including one for the Department of Homeland Security that will keep the department funded through the end of September.


A growing number of immigrants traversing Mexico to get into the U.S. are bypassing the Texas border to cross into Arizona and California in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) stepped-up enforcement.

In 2021, 69% of illegal immigrant arrests across the southern border occurred in Texas. As Abbott stepped up security at the start of the Biden administration in 2021, arrests of illegal crossers began to fall and dropped to just 34% in early 2024.