Border Patrol agents detained about 1.66 million illegal immigrants at the southern border for the fiscal year ending in September, the highest level ever recorded in a fiscal year, data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Friday.
The previous high of 1.64 million detentions was recorded in 2000.
Additionally, agents encountered 192,001 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in September alone, after encountering 209,840 migrants in August and 213,593 in July.
“CBP encounters along the Southwest border declined in September from the prior month, and a majority of noncitizens encountered were expelled under Title 42,” acting CBP commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement. Title 42 expulsions are conducted with the stated aim of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Most of the migrants detained in the 2021 fiscal year were encountered after President Biden assumed office, with roughly 1.3 million in the first nine months of Biden’s presidency. Among the new migrants, close to 145,000 unaccompanied minors were detained this year.
The Biden administration has struggled to process migrants entering the country, with Border Patrol at times overwhelmed by the number of new arrivals. In one widely-covered incident, about 30,000 Haitian migrants arrived in Del Rio, Texas, over a span of two weeks, with thousands of those migrants subsequently released into the U.S.