The Biden administration has yet to release December border crossing numbers that Customs and Border Protection has circulated internally for at least 10 days, raising concerns on Capitol Hill that the White House is concealing damaging information about the severity of the border crisis.
On Jan. 14, CBP submitted the December data in a court filing. Those data revealed 178,840 migrant apprehensions in December, an increase from 173,620 in November. A spokeswoman for CBP told the Washington Free Beacon the December numbers are "scheduled to be released soon," although she did not answer why they were delayed.
Congressional Republicans have criticized the Biden administration's lack of transparency during one of the largest illegal immigration surges in recent history. They have alleged the delay is nothing more than an effort to conceal the severity of the crisis on the southern border.
"We don't have the December numbers, and it's certainly something [CBP] knows. They're just not releasing them," Rep. Chip Roy (R., Texas) told the Free Beacon. "We know it's going to be an absolutely staggering and embarrassing number, and they don't let the American people know it. If we get power back in 2023, we should have oversight hearings on Day One."
The failure to release data to the public follows a pattern set by the current White House, breaking with Democratic and Republican predecessors. Border crossing numbers are typically released in the first two weeks of the subsequent month, although November's were released on Dec. 17, 2021.
Aside from rising migrant encounters in December—a reversal of historical trends in winter months when there is typically less migration—the court documents reveal 55,626 migrants were released into the interior of the United States that month. More than 78,000 migrants apprehended by U.S. authorities were deported through Title 42, a federal provision that allows the quick removal of migrants during a public health crisis.
"Americans just want to know. If there's bad news, we as the American population can handle it, but we want to know what's going to be done about it," Rep. August Pfluger (R., Texas) told the Free Beacon. "There's just not a lot of transparent behavior when it comes to the Department of Homeland Security from the Biden administration."
President Joe Biden has overseen the largest influx of migrants at the southern border in recorded history. During the 2021 fiscal year, Border Patrol arrested more than 1.6 million migrants.
Despite those figures, Biden has failed to disclose a variety of reports that provide a fuller picture of how many illegal immigrants remain in the United States. The Free Beacon reported earlier this month the Department for Homeland Security has yet to release its annual report on the number of deportations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2021.
Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed on Jan. 12, following outcry from Republican lawmakers, that his agency was unable to locate roughly half of all the migrants released into the United States from between March 21, 2021, and Aug. 31, 2021.