U.S. Border Patrol has processed a record-breaking number of migrants entering the country illegally during December, according to internal federal statistics obtained by CBS News.
The figures, reaching over 225,000 in the first 27 days of the month, underscore the unprecedented challenges facing the Biden administration amidst an extraordinary migration crisis.
The data reveals that the spike peaked before Christmas, with Border Patrol averaging 9,773 daily apprehensions during the week of December 14 to 20. Notably, several days saw the processing of over 10,000 migrants within a 24-hour period.
While unlawful crossings have slightly decreased this week, they remain at historically high levels. On Wednesday alone, Border Patrol processed 7,759 migrants. Almost 60% of all migrants processed this month entered illegally through the Tucson, Arizona, and Del Rio, Texas sectors.
In these remote regions, where daily unlawful crossings range from 2,000 to 3,000, migrants find themselves sleeping outdoors near international bridges due to resource and manpower constraints. Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of Border Patrol, has responded by dispatching additional agents and resources to address the situation.
This surge in migration poses a significant challenge for the Biden administration, both logistically and politically, as it grapples with unfavorable public opinion on border and immigration issues. The strain is felt not only in small border communities but also in large cities like Chicago, Denver, and New York City, prompting calls for increased federal assistance.
As Republican lawmakers condition additional military aid to Ukraine on stringent immigration restrictions, negotiations with the White House are ongoing. Simultaneously, the crisis has prompted high-level meetings between top U.S. officials and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, with efforts to curb U.S-bound migration and assess progress expected to continue into the new year.