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Nearly 7.3 million migrants have illegally crossed the southwest border under President Biden's watch, a number greater than the population of 36 individual states, a Fox News analysis finds.

That figure comes from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has already reported 961,537 border encounters in the current fiscal year, which runs from October through September. If the current pace of illegal immigration does not slow down, fiscal year 2024 will break last year's record of 2,475,669 southwest border encounters — a number that by itself exceeds the population of New Mexico, a border state. 

The total number of southwest land border encounters since Biden assumed office in 2021 is 7,298,486, CBP data shows. 

That is larger than the population of 36 U.S. states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 


Migrants sent back to Mexico by Texas National Guard

Migrants are sent back by the Texas National Guard to the Rio Grande after entering El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on Feb. 8. (Justin Hamel/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Compared to the largest U.S. states, the 7.3 million number is about 18.7% of California's population of 39 million; 23.9% of the state of Texas and its 31 million residents; 32.3% of the population of Florida; and 37.3% of New York. It's more than half the size of Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio. 

Were the number of illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. under President Biden gathered together to found a city, it would be the second-largest city in America after New York. And the total does not include an estimated additional 1.8 million known "gotaways" who evaded law enforcement, which would make it bigger than New York. 

Taken together, nearly 10 million migrants have crossed into the U.S. illegally during the Biden administration, a record Biden's critics assert could only be achieved by intentionally refusing to enforce the law. 

"This unprecedented surge in illegal immigration isn't an accident. It is the result of deliberate policy choices by the Biden administration," said Eric Ruark, Director of Research for Numbers USA, a nonprofit that advocates for immigration restrictions.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.  


Migrants cross razor wire in Texas

Groups of migrants arrive at the Rio Grande, to cross it and surrender to the American authorities, since elements of the Texas National Guard no longer prevent their passage in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Monday. (Christian Torres/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Republicans and anti-illegal immigration activists have for years blamed Biden for allowing the current overwhelming surge of migrants by reversing former President Donald Trump's border policies. The Biden administration has denied responsibility for the crisis and pointed to external "push" factors like violence and economic instability in South and Central America as the culprit responsible for vast waves of migration to the U.S. 

However, the president's critics say migrants face more of a "pull" factor in the form of job opportunities and government benefits because they know they will not face deportation under Biden's lenient policies. 

"The administration has refused to enforce existing immigration law and taken every opportunity to aid and abet illegal border crossings — through policies such as catch-and-release, mass parole and offering temporary work permits to tens of thousands of foreigners who make dubious claims for asylum," Ruark told Fox News Digital. "In actual effect, the United States government is completing the human smuggling and trafficking process for the Mexican cartels."

Migrants cross body of water on way to U.S.

Two people and a child try to cross a body of water as groups of migrants arrive at the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Monday. (Christian Torres/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said migrants have learned in the last three years that they won't face deportation for entering the country illegally. 

"They have sent the signal that if you come to the U.S. illegally, if you abuse the asylum system, you'll be released into the country and allowed to remain here, in most cases given work authorization," Mehlman said. "Even if you neglect to show up for your hearings, the odds of you being removed are negligible. The president claims he doesn't have the authority to enforce our laws. He absolutely does. He is deliberately not enforcing those laws."


Illegal immigrants crossing into Texas

Groups of migrants arrive at the Rio Grande to cross it and surrender to American authorities in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Monday. (Christian Torres/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Biden has called on Congress to pass new laws he claims would let him solve the border crisis. He endorsed a bipartisan deal in the Senate that included an "emergency border authority" to mandate Title 42-style expulsions of migrants when migration levels exceed 5,000 a day over a seven-day rolling average. It would have also limited the window for people to apply for asylum, provided immediate work permits for asylum seekers and funded a massive increase in staffing at the border and more immigration judges. 

But conservatives tanked the deal in the Senate after House Republicans declared it a non-starter. They argued the bill would have normalized record-high levels of illegal immigration and said Biden currently has all the authority he needs to reenact Trump's policies and secure the border. 

While the debate rages, House Republicans have impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for allegedly refusing to enforce immigration laws. Two impeachment articles advanced against Mayorkas accused him of having "refused to comply with Federal immigration laws" and violating the "public trust."


DHS has criticized the effort as politically motivated and insisted the Biden administration is enforcing the laws on the books. 

Biden said that "history will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games."

Fox News' Bill Melugin, Adam Shaw and Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.