Portman: March CBP Numbers Show 33 Percent Increase in Unlawful Migrant Encounters at Southern Border

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released operational statistics from March that show a 33 percent increase in encounters of unlawful migrants at the southern border compared to February and a 78 percent increase from last March as the United States’ worst migrant crisis continues: 

“Once again, the CBP operational statistics show a dramatic increase in encounters from the previous month. I am alarmed the March CBP numbers were the highest March on record in more than two decades with 221,303 total encounters at the border. This includes more than 37,000 migrant family members; more than 169,000 single adult migrants; and more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, up from 12,000 encounters in February. This crisis is a direct result of the Biden administration’s policy choices and we will only see a rise in these numbers if the Biden administration chooses to follow through with its plan to revoke the use of the Title 42 health policy next month.


“The surge in illicit narcotics coming over our border also continues to rise, with seizures of heroin and fentanyl up more than 60 percent from last month. In addition the CBP statistics show fentanyl seizures at the southern border increased 56 percent in March 2022 compared with March 2021 and 311 percent from March 2020. As recent CDC data has shown, these illicit drugs are taking a record number of lives in communities in Ohio and across our country. The failure of this administration to control our southern border has resulted in record levels of deadly fentanyl coming into our country, leading to more American lives being lost, families devastated, and has contributed to the growing strength of Mexican transnational criminal organizations.” 

Recently, on the Senate floor, Portman highlighted the need for the Biden administration to reform the asylum process that acts as a pull factor to bring unlawful migrants to the southern border and into the United States. In addition to the unprecedented number of individuals, children, and families attempting to enter the country unlawfully, illicit narcotics, like fentanyl, are also coming across the border and into the United States, resulting in a record number of overdose deaths in Ohio and throughout the country. Portman also voiced his frustration over the reported plans by the Department of Homeland Security to bring more buses, planes, and personnel to the border to process unlawful migrants into the country more quickly when coronavirus-related policies at the border end. This policy change will only increase the worst migration crisis in our nation’s history.