(The Center Square) – Apprehension and gotaway data for June, which was significantly lower than previous months, is deceptive, a Customs and Border Patrol agent as well as the former acting CBP Chief and former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan told The Center Square.
They spoke in response to lower numbers reported for the month by Border Patrol agents that total over 135,000, which is significantly lower than previous months even though large numbers of people are still coming through.
Every month, The Center Square reports preliminary data obtained from a Border Patrol agent and later reports on the official numbers published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The preliminary data only includes Border Patrol data and excludes Office of Field Operations data. Total official numbers are always higher when OFO data is publicized.
The preliminary data has proven to be an accurate benchmark and sheds light on gotaway data, which CBP doesn’t publicize. The Center Square first started shedding light on gotaways to provide a greater context about what’s happening at the border, and crime stemming from it in communities across America.
“Gotaways” is the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection term that refers to the number of foreign nationals who are known and reported to illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry who intentionally seek to avoid getting caught by agents and law enforcement officers and don’t return to Mexico.
The Border Patrol agent provides the preliminary data on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. The agent told The Center Square the gotaway numbers are less than half of what they were in May because what’s being reported “only represents known and recorded. There are also known and unrecorded, meaning sectors are still fudging numbers.”
Not all gotaways are recorded because not all are identified, officials have told to The Center Square. As more agents are pulled off the line and out of the field they aren’t able to identify everyone who’s gotten away.
“We don’t have operational control of the border, which means we don’t have situational awareness,” the agent said. “So, we don’t know who, what, when, how or where people are coming across.”
The cartels are “using drones to bypass our movements, including sensor locations,” the agent added. “They know where we are at all times. They know how to get around us.”
The nearly 33,000 gotaways reported in June is a significant drop compared to the more than 60,000 reported in the previous month and even higher numbers in previous months. But it “doesn’t mean less people are coming through,” the agent said. “There is no way to gauge how many people are coming across. The number isn’t held accountable by anyone.
“It’s a subjective number,” the agent continued, because some “agents don’t care so they don’t call in gotaways. Supervisors also decrease the numbers each shift, and station chiefs and sector chiefs don’t post accurate depictions of what’s happening on social media. There is no way to hold them accountable.”
Because there are no consequences to illegal entry and it’s encouraged through the use of a new CBP One App established by the Biden administration, illegal foreign nationals are increasingly “coming through ports of entry, posing as fake family units,” the agent said.
The June apprehension data excludes CBP One App entries, which includes those being allowed in through the newly created parole program allowing for 30,000 from four countries each, totaling 120,000 to enter every month.
Agents have no access to this system and don’t know who’s coming through, the agent said, adding the administration was operating a “parallel system operating in the dark.”
On the morning of the day the agent spoke with The Center Square, for example, Border Patrol agents “caught a group of over 100 – all fake family units. The cartels found a loop in the system. This decreases the amount of people [gotaways] running. There’s no risk of getting caught.”
The loophole the agent is referring to is the Biden administration no longer uses DNA testing to determine who is a family member. That ended May 31. Anyone can show up at the border with an untold number of children and claim to be family members, and Border Patrol agents have no way to test to disprove their claims.
Morgan expressed similar sentiments. While total Border Patrol apprehensions were down last month, he said, “that’s all they’re talking about,” referring to the Biden administration. “It’s a shell game.”
“As the Border Patrol apprehensions go down [between ports of entry], the encounters at Office of Field Operations are skyrocketing,” he explained. “There were over 90,000 OFO apprehensions in April. June will be higher, he said.
“OFO apprehensions alone are on pace for one million encounters this fiscal year, a 300% increase from fiscal 2020.”
The Biden administration is “shifting the crisis from in between the ports of entry to the ports of entry themselves,” Morgan said, while at the same time the administration is calling the change “a new legal pathway and claiming victory. It’s a perversion and violation of the law. A big lie. One government sponsored shell game.”