New data shows that illegal immigrants evading Border Patrol have spiked under Biden, surpassing their predecessors

EXCLUSIVEThe number of illegal immigrants evading Border Patrol agents has skyrocketed under the Biden administration, according to new data obtained by Fox News.

The figures for nationwide Border Patrol escapes — illegal immigrants who evaded agents but were spotted by other forms of surveillance such as cameras and sensors — were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Fox in October submitted.

They show that there were more than 1.4 million escapes between FY 2010 and FY 2020, ranging from a low of 86,226 in FY 2011 to a high of 171,663 in FY 2013.

Border Patrol Officials Say Threat of 'Gotaways' at Southern Border 'Keeps Us Up at Night'

A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands on a cliff looking for migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Sasabe, Arizona. A Border Patrol agent was struck by a vehicle near Tucson on Tuesday. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In fiscal year 2020, there were 136,808 border escapes. That number then rose to 387,398 in fiscal 2021, coinciding with the final months of the Trump administration and the first months of the Biden administration.

As migrant numbers at the southern border rose to crisis levels, so did the number of escapes – skyrocketing to 606,131 in FY2022 and 670,674 in FY23.

This means that there were more escapes in FY21-23 (1.6 million) than in the decade of FY2010 and FY2020 (1.4 million).

Border Patrol escape numbers

This image shows the number of outings per financial year. (Fox News)

So far in FY 24, which began in October, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources have separately told Fox News that there have been more than 175,000 escapes.

Officials have regularly expressed concern about the numbers crossing the border without being encountered, even though this is a relatively small number compared to the more than 1.3 million migrants encountered this fiscal year.

“That number is a big number, but what keeps me up at night is the 140,000 known escapes,” Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens told CBS News in March, when the numbers were lower.

ILLEGAL MIGRANTS FROM THIS FOREIGN OPPONENT KEEP CROSSING THE BORDER

Texas border, migrants

Immigrants await processing at a U.S. Border Patrol transit center after crossing the border from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Dec. 20, 2023. A wave of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border late last year has overwhelmed U.S. immigration officials. (John Moore/Getty Images)

“If a person is willing to put themselves in danger by crossing very remote, very dangerous conditions to evade capture, you have to ask yourself why. What makes them willing to take that risk?” he told a House committee in May 2023. 'That worries me. What also worries me is that I don't know who that person is. I don't know where they come from. I don't know what their intention is. I don't know what they brought with them. That unknown represents a risk, a threat. It is very important to everyone who wears this uniform.”

Officials have also said that due to increased investment in technology, there is greater situational awareness than before, which has led to more detections of 'escapes' than in previous years.

“Because we've gotten more detection capabilities, because we're… on the road more, we have the additional processing coordinators, we're in a better situation than we have been in years past,” Owens said.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas has previously noted changes in the migration flow in correspondence with Congress.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

“Before 2013, the majority of people who attempted to cross the border entered without being caught,” he said in a letter to the House Homeland Security Committee in January. “Under this administration, the estimated annual apprehension rate averaged 78%, the same average apprehension rate as under the previous administration.”

DHS has instead said it is working within a “broken” immigration system that is in desperate need of reform and additional funding from Congress. It also points to 720,000 removals or returns of illegal immigrants since May 2023, more than in any full fiscal year since 2011.

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Most recently, it has supported a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would increase funding while providing a mechanism to roll back border crossings when they reach a certain level. But conservative lawmakers rejected that measure, saying it would normalize high levels of illegal immigration.

Griff Jenkins and Emmett Jones of Fox News contributed to this report.

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