Immigration Crisis
December 22, 2022
Can the border crisis be fixed?

A record 2.77 million migrant encounters with Border Patrol agents took place in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, eclipsing the previous high of 1.72 million in 2021. The spike was largely driven by migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. Officials fear migration is set to surge even higher with the end of a policy, Title 42, that has resulted in the quick ejection of about half of all adult migrants since March 2020. A federal judge ruled the policy was to end by Dec. 21, but Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered the policy to stay in place while hearing arguments over its future. Democratic hopes of pushing through reforms — such as protections for “Dreamers,” immigrants brought to the United States as children — remained unfulfilled at publication time. Republicans, who will take control of the House in January, may try to impeach the head of the Department of Homeland Security and reinstate Trump-era border restrictions. Meanwhile, Republican governors in Texas, Arizona and Florida transported migrants to Democratic-run cities to highlight the financial and logistical challenges they face during migrant surges.

Photo of migrants waiting to board U.S. Border Patrol bus in Yuma, Arizona, on May 18, 2022. Migrants wait to board a U.S. Border Patrol bus for transport to a processing facility in Yuma, Ariz., in May. The number of migrants seeking to cross the U.S. southern border reached a record high in 2022 and could increase again in 2023. (Getty Images/Mario Tama)

The influx of migrants at the southwestern U.S. border hit a record in 2022 and could increase further in 2023, especially if a key policy that kept about half of migrants out of the country ends.

U.S. Border Patrol officers encountered nearly 2.77 million migrants by the end of the government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30, up from 1.72 million in 2021. (Some people tried to cross more than once, so the number of encounters is higher than the number of unique individuals.) 1