December border surge sets alarming record: 371,000 illegal crossings

A stunning 371,036 individuals were caught entering the United States illegally in December, the data shows, breaking the previous record of 341,392 set in August 2023.

Eagle Pass, TX, USA - Sept. 20, 2023: A group of migrants seeking U.S. asylum crawl through razor wire on the banks of the Rio Grande River to enter the U.S. and turn themselves in. (Vic Hinterlang/Shutterstock)

A record-breaking number of illegal immigrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border last month, according to data released Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as the border crisis continues to rage with no end in sight.

A stunning 371,036 individuals were caught entering the United States illegally in December, the data shows, breaking the previous record of 341,392 set in August 2023.

Encounters along the southwest land border also set a new record, hitting 302,034, per other data released by CBP on Jan. 26.

The record-shattering numbers come ahead of House Republican efforts to impeach Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the illegal immigration crisis.

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) is expected to introduce articles of impeachment against Mr. Mayorkas next week.

“Secretary Mayorkas has outdone himself yet again — never have we seen such catastrophic numbers, even with historically high encounter numbers on his watch,” Mr. Green said in a statement. “December’s numbers serve as more undeniable proof that Secretary Mayorkas must be impeached.”

Intentional ‘disaster’?

Mr. Green said that not only are the record high numbers a “disaster,” but he alleged that they are intentional.

“This staggering number of encounters at our borders only happens by design and a willful refusal to comply with the laws passed by Congress,” Mr. Green said, accusing the DHS chief of having “intentionally opened our borders.”

Mr. Green, like many of his fellow Republicans, has accused the Biden administration of relaxing border policies and flinging open the door to a sharp influx of illegal aliens.

Biden administration officials have rejected such allegations, claiming they’re doing all they can to stem the influx and variously blaming factors like seasonal fluctuations, a broken immigration system — even climate change.

Voters, meanwhile, have grown increasingly concerned about the border crisis, with a recent poll showing that immigration has become the top concern, shunting inflation into second spot.

“They are very concerned about immigration, inflation, and crime, and that’s why many of them are saying they want a new president,” Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll and Stagwell chairman and CEO, said in a Jan. 22 statement.

‘Give me the money’

President Joe Biden, whose approval on immigration sank to 35 percent in the poll, recently admitted that the border is not secure — although he denied his policies have had anything to do with it.

Mr. Mayorkas recently pinned the blame for the influx on Congress, or rather its failure to make legislative changes and provide more money for border security.

President Biden, too, has seen funding as key, most recently when he responded to a reporter asking him if he believed the border was secure.

“No, it’s not,” President Biden replied. “I haven’t believed it for the last 10 years. And I’ve said it for the last 10 years … give me the money.”

Former President Donald Trump, under whose tenure (and tough border policies) the number of illegal crossings fell significantly, has been a sharp critic of his successor.

“When I was President, we had the most secure Border in History,” he wrote in a Jan. 25 statement. “Joe Biden has surrendered our Border and is aiding and abetting a massive Invasion of millions of Illegal Migrants into the United States.”

The former president accused President Biden of “fighting to tie the hands” of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in his efforts to bolster border security on his own, without federal help.

Texas is embroiled in a high-profile conflict with federal border protection agencies over the use of concertina wire along the southern border.

The Biden administration sued Texas over the razor wire, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Abbott on Jan. 22 and allowed federal agents to cut Texas’ concertina wire barriers.

Unfazed by the court order and the Biden administration’s criticism, Mr. Abbott said on Thursday that he would add more razor wire “to make sure we are doing even more to secure the border.”

‘Invasion clause’

Declaring that the influx of illegal immigrants into his states amounts to an “invasion” that the Biden administration has failed to repel, Mr. Abbott on Jan. 24 invoked what’s been dubbed the invasion clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“The failure of the Biden Administration to fulfill the duties imposed by Article IV, § 4 has triggered Article I, § 10, Clause 3, which reserves to this State the right of self-defense,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement.

“For these reasons, I have already declared an invasion under Article I, § 10, Clause 3 to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself,” he said.

“That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary,” the Texas governor added.

President Trump expressed support for Mr. Abbott’s move and called on states to deploy National Guard troops to support Texas in its efforts to bolster border security.

“We encourage all willing states to deploy their guards to Texas to prevent the entry of illegals and to remove them back across the border,” President Trump said in a Jan. 25 statement.

President Trump further charged that President Biden was trying to hinder Mr. Abbott in his efforts to protect his state from the “onslaught” and, in fact, is working to keep the influx going “unchecked.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.


Tom Ozimek | The Epoch Times

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.