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Young men who crossed the border illegally are apprehended by DHS. Photo: DHS video.

Number of migrant “gotaways” equals population of Kansas City and St. Louis

The number of illegal immigrants who evaded authorities (known as gotaways) at the southern border last year is equal to the combined population of Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri.

The revelation came from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) who quoted Department of Homeland Security data in a letter to the agency’s head, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.  “At the very least, you owe the American people full transparency into what your department knows about illegal immigrants who have entered our nation without being stopped or tracked,” the letter said. It comes after testimony by Mayorkas in which he stated there was no border crisis.

The “gotaways,” who hail from around the world, came amid a record fiscal year that saw more than 2.4 million migrant encounters. Gotaways are particularly worrisome to officials, because they are more likely to have something to hide, including criminal conviction.

“The yearly number of gotaways has increased dramatically under your watch, up from nearly 600,000 in fiscal year 2022 and more than double the 389,515 in fiscal year 2021,” Border Patrol head Jason Owens told lawmakers last year. “All told, nearly two million illegal immigrants have successfully evaded border officials during the Biden administration.”

Hawley also cited reports of more than 302,000 migrant encounters in December, itself a new record. “These unprecedented figures underscore the need for you to be fully transparent about your department’s own accounting of the southern border crisis,” he said.

Hawley is asking the department to provide methodology of how got away estimates are calculated and how many suspected terrorists, violent criminals and other felons are among them.

The Department of Homeland Security previously has noted that gotaways have been an issue for multiple administrations, blaming it on a “broken” immigration system that is in need of reform and funding from Congress. The administration is seeking more than $14 billion in border funding, which includes money for technology and staffing at the border. That funding currently is being held up because of Republican demands for limits on asylum and the use of parole.

–Alan Goforth | MV

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