Another month, another record.
The number of reported migrant encounters along the southern border has once again made Department of Homeland Security history — hitting a staggering 239,416 encounters in May.
The figure is the highest number of migrant encounters recorded in one month ever and brings the total migrant encounters in FY 2022 to more than 1.5 million, according to the latest data released by Customs and Border Protection Wednesday.
The border agency attempted to pin the 2% monthly increase on the large number of expulsions, insisting it has “contributed to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts.”
Approximately 25% of those encountered had at least one prior encounter in the past 12 months, the agency said.
Almost half (42%) of May’s total – 100,699 – were processed for expulsion under Title 42, the health policy that the Biden administration attempted to end last month which allows rapid expulsion of illegal immigrants.
An additional 138,717 migrants encountered were processed under Title 8 — the Department of Homeland Security’s general border enforcement policy.
The policy subjects migrants to removal if they attempt to enter the US without authorization and cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the country.
The number of unaccompanied children increased significantly in May — up by 21% to 14,699, with CBP taking in an average of 692 to custody per day.
The number of family units encountered also increased by 8%, to 59,282 in May — though that total still reflects a 32% decrease since August of last year.
The vast majority (69%) – 165,200 – of all southern border encounters were single adults.
The largest number of migrants stopped along the border in May – about 1 in 5 – were encountered in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley sector. That number was closely followed by the Del Rio sector.
Texas’ El Paso sector and Arizona’s Yuma sector also saw high numbers of illegal immigrant encounters — totaling more than 33,000 people over the month in each sector.
However, while the number of attempted border crossings in May increased, the amount of drug seizures dropped by almost a quarter (22%).
Specifically, seizures of cocaine decreased by 22%, methamphetamine lowered by 23%, heroin decreased by 29% and fentanyl seizures went down by 12%.
In their Wednesday announcement, CBP insisted current restrictions along the southern border of the US have not changed and urged all migrants traveling north to halt their journey.
“Current restrictions at the US border have not changed: single adults and families encountered at the Southwest Border will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under Title 42,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.
“As temperatures start to rise in the summer, human smugglers will continue to exploit vulnerable populations and recklessly endanger the lives of migrants for financial gain.
“The terrain along the Southwest Border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert that migrants must hike after crossing the border are unforgiving. Our message to those who would try and gain illegal entry to the United States remains the same – don’t make the dangerous journey only to be sent back.”
Preliminary data has suggested, however, that border crossings may decline in June, with some border cities reporting decreases so far.
Officials in El Paso told Border Report this week that the daily average of encounters has dropped to approximately 775 — after climbing above 1,000 in April and May.