Biden administration officials defended another month of extremely high numbers of unauthorized crossings at the southern border in May, blaming the statistics for overstating and misrepresenting the situation.
Federal law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico boundary encountered 180,034 people who tried to enter the country illegally in May, the highest number in more than two decades. The May total was up from 178,622 in April and 172,331 in March. Still, administration officials who spoke with reporters in a call Thursday afternoon said law enforcement is seeing the same people more than once in a month. Hence, the numbers are not indicative of the underlying situation.
“There’s a difference between encounters and individuals,” said an official who was authorized to speak with media anonymously. “There are, right now, an unusual number of repeat crossers, but the number of actual individuals who attempt to cross is down from April and a little over 20,000 lower than May of 2019.”