Migrant encounters at southern border hit record 302K in December, sources say

The U.S. southern border saw its highest rate of illegal migrant encounters last month, blowing away previous statistics.

Sources with Customs and Border Patrol told Fox News Digital that migrant encounters hit a staggering 300,000 incidents in the last month of 2023, reaching a level thought unimaginable just years ago.

Between Dec. 1 and December 31, more than 302,000 migrants were documented attempting to cross the U.S. southern border. 

It is the highest total for a single month ever recorded. It is also the first time migrant encounters have exceeded 300,000.

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Migrants take part in a caravan toward the border with the United States in Tapachula, Chiapas State, Mexico. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that his government would step up efforts to contain irregular migration flows. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 785,000 migrant encounters have been reported since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 — the highest first quarter total ever recorded.

Republicans have blamed the surge on the policies of the administration, including the ending of Trump-era policies, while the administration says it is dealing with a hemisphere-wide challenge and needs more funding and immigration reform legislation from Congress. 

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Migrants walking near a road

Migrants walk along a highway in Huixtla, Mexico. A caravan of migrants set out north through southern Mexico just days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Mexico City to discuss new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the United States.  (AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente)

Officials in Texas have been sending the migrants nationwide. A plane-load of migrants was seen arriving at Chicago Rockford International Airport in Illinois on Dec. 31.

Mayor Michael Gonnelli of Secaucus, New Jersey reported that bus loads of migrants headed to New York City have stopped at his town’s train station, attempting to circumvent the city’s regulations on migrant arrivals.

“It seems quite clear the bus operators are finding a way to thwart the requirements of the executive order by dropping migrants at the train station in Secaucus and having them continue to their final destination,” Gonnelli said in a statement.

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Migrants are seen camped out near Lukeville, Arizona. (Fox News)

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were part of a U.S. delegation to Mexico City where they met with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

In the joint statement, the countries affirmed their commitments to “orderly, humane and regular migration” and stressed their efforts to tackle “root causes” of migration, disrupt human smuggling and promote private investment while also investing in “ambitious development programs” in the region.

But the statement also said that officials discussed the “benefits” of granting some form of legal status for illegal immigrants already in the U.S., including those protected by the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — an executive order signed by President Barack Obama, which shielded some illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors.

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