Migrant arrivals up 2% in February as border crossers head to ports of entry

Of 128,877 crossings, nearly 40,000 were repeat encounters.

By Ben Whedon
Updated: March 15, 2023 - 9:09pm

Border authorities reported that more than 120,000 migrants entered the United States via Ports of Entry on the border with Mexico during the month of February, while total encounters increased by a significant margin over January.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Wednesday that 128,877 had entered via POEs, meaning levels remained on par with those of January when 128,913 crossed the border at those sites. Of those 128,877, nearly 40,000 were repeat encounters.

CBP observed that the February numbers mark "second month in a row as the lowest month of Border Patrol encounters since February 2021." Those figures only include arrivals at Mexican border POE, however, and total migrant encounters for February came in at 212,266, a 2% increase over January. That figure includes both POE arrivals and border encounters at unauthorized entry points.

CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller celebrated the POE numbers remaining stable, saying "The new border enforcement measures kept Februaryís overall encounter numbers nearly even with January."

"We are also encouraged by the new functionality in the CBP One mobile application, which has provided migrants the ability to safely and easily schedule an appointment at a Port of Entry to request a humanitarian exception to the Title 42 public health order," he continued. "The app cuts out the smugglers and decreases migrant exploitation. CBP continues to make improvements to the app to address feedback we have received from stakeholders."

Miller's sentiments appear to conflict with those of U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who told lawmakers on Wednesday that the Border Patrol does not have operational control of the Mexican border.

Ortiz spoke to members of the Homeland Security Committee in McAllen, Texas. He emphasized that the Border Patrol needed policies that would enable them to repatriate migrants who arrived in the U.S. in order to retain control of the situation.

"Our inability to repatriate individuals to certain countries in a tremendous challenge. I would have agree with that," he said. "I support any policy thatís going to allow us to repatriate individuals back to their home country. Every policy that allows us to repatriate or reduce the flow of migrants is certainly going to increase our operational effectiveness and our ability to control that border."