Arizona Republican warns DHS may be undercounting illegal immigrant ‘gotaways’ at the border

FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., is warning that Border Patrol may be undercounting the number of illegal immigrant “gotaways” at the southern border as the U.S. continues to face a crushing migrant crisis. Biggs, the co-chair of the House Border Security Caucus, said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, obtained first by Fox News Digital, that while official statistics indicate that there have been around 675,000 “gotaways” this fiscal year, the number could be higher. The term “gotaways” refers to illegal immigrants who evade Border Patrol but who are detected on another form of surveillance. Biggs warned that under current practice, agents report daily on the numbers they believe got by them, but this can be inaccurately reported. DHS TO OFFER WORK PERMITS, DEPORTATION PROTECTION TO OVER 470,000 VENEZUELANS “However, when agents report groups of aliens that exceed 20, no matter the number above, the group is reported as ‘20+’ and counted as 20,” he wrote. “For years, sources have claimed this maximum category of 20+ has led to underreporting. Now, given the sheer volume of people entering the United States illegally, gotaway groups regularly exceed that number, leading to further underreporting,” Biggs continued. He warned that gotaways pose a significant threat to U.S. communities and national security and are more likely to have criminal backgrounds or cartel affiliations – both of which pose a threat that officials have acknowledged. “Given their evasion of law enforcement, these individuals likely have criminal backgrounds or cartel affiliations that would deem them inadmissible for legal entry or are trafficking illegal drugs, weapons, or people into the country,” he said. Biggs is seeking information on how DHS counts gotaways, its estimates for fiscal year 2023 and changes it intends to make to ensure better reporting of the number. GOP GOVERNORS CALL ON BIDEN TO PROVIDE ‘HONEST, ACCURATE’ DATA ON MIGRANT CRISIS AS NUMBERS SURGE The letter comes as numbers have again skyrocketed at the southern border, including a surge of thousands into Eagle Pass, Texas, this week. Sources told Fox on Thursday that there were more than 10,000 encounters across the border in a 24-hour period. Multiple Border Patrol sectors have been left overwhelmed, with some sectors resorting to releasing detained migrants to the streets. Sources have also said that numbers for August appear to be on track to be around 230,000, a significant increase from the more than 180,000 encountered in July and 144,000 encountered in June. The administration announced a slew of measures this week to deal with the crisis, including additional deportation protections for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans and increases in Border Patrol facility capacity, expedited work permits and personnel deployments to the border. Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.
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