Migrant encounters at the southern border hit an all-time record in September, Fox News has learned, with a massive 260,000 encounters as border officials struggle to cope with a historic crisis.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources tell Fox News that total migrant encounters for September have exceeded 260,000, which is the highest monthly total ever recorded. That number includes both Border Patrol encounters between ports of entry and Office of Field Operations (OFO) encounters at ports.
The record had previously been set last December, where officials encountered 252,320 migrants. Numbers lowered in 2023, and officials had pointed to a drop in May after the end of Title 42 as a sign its policies were working.
But numbers soared in July and August, with CBP announcing last week that numbers had hit 230,000 in August. As the agency announced those numbers, agents were dealing with new daily highs. Recently agents have been encountering between 10,000 and 11,000 migrants each day, resulting in releases of migrants onto the streets in some instances.
CBP officials tell Fox that this new surge could not come at a more critical time with Washington D.C. battling over a spending. Border Patrol Agents are essential employees dealing with national security issues. That means, if the government shuts down agents must still work but would not receive a paycheck until the government re-opens.
For those agents on the frontlines who are traveling to other sectors and are staying in hotels, their government credit card bills are still due and they are responsible for paying them — despite not receiving their paychecks if the government shuts down.
The House passed a “clean” continuing resolution Saturday afternoon that extends funding at current levels through mid-November, when another shutdown would be triggered if Congress fails to reach a longer-term agreement.
One agent told Fox that “a lot of us are being asked by our spouses, are we going to be okay? And the answer for many living paycheck-to-paycheck is ‘no.’”
Republicans in the House had been pushing for border security measures — particularly the House GOP’s signature border security and asylum reform legislation — to be included in any stopgap funding bill. A vote on a bill that included most of the “Secure the Border Act” failed on Friday after 21 hardline Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., meanwhile, rolled out a measure Friday that would ensure that CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff are paid in the event of a shutdown. The bill is cosponsored by Republican Sens. Jim Risch of Idaho, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Dan Sullivan of Arkansas and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and it has been endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council.
The new numbers are likely to increase pressure on the Biden administration over the crisis, which has faced conservative and Republican criticism for its handling of the border. Republicans have blamed the crisis on the administration’s rollback of Trump-era policies, as well as its policies narrowing interior enforcement and expanding releases of migrants into the interior.
The administration has said it is up to Congress to provide more funding and immigration reform to fix what it says is a “broken” system. The White House, meanwhile, has claimed that the border measures included by House Republicans would eliminate CBP of 800 agents, triggering a “windfall for drug cartels.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Liz Elkind contributed to this report.