The number of migrant encounters at the southern border has smashed through the two million mark this fiscal year, breaching the already-historic 1.7 million encounters last year — but those numbers by themselves do not state how have been released into the U.S., or account for hundreds of thousands of others who have slipped past Border Patrol.

There have been more than two million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in FY2022, as Border Patrol agents deal with a migrant crisis unprecedented in U.S. history and one that the Biden administration has so far failed to slow, despite its claims that the border is "secure."

However, the encounters can include multiple attempts by the same migrants. Additionally, nearly half of the encounters have resulted in an expulsion under Title 42, implemented in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those expelled will make multiple efforts to cross the border, resulting in multiple encounters with Border Patrol.

So far this fiscal year, over 920,000 encounters have resulted in a Title 42 expulsion, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with about the same number (912,575) processed under what is known as Title 8. However, some will be transferred straight into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody; others can be returned via voluntary return or expedited removal if they either do not claim asylum or do not pass an initial asylum screening.


Brownsville border

Jan. 23, 2022: Fox News footage shows migrants being released into the U.S. (Fox News)

According to CBP statistics, so far this fiscal year more than 500,000 migrants have been released into the U.S. by Border Patrol on their own recognizance with a court date (called a Notice to Appear) or paroled into the U.S. and enrolled into Alternatives to Detention (ATD). That statistic does not include the final two months of FY22. The New York Times this week cited internal DHS documents and court filings to report that more than a million illegal migrants have so far been released into the U.S.  for asylum hearings overall since Biden took office. That number will continue to rise in the months and years ahead.

About a third of those are being monitored under "Alternatives to Detention," which typically includes checking in via a cellphone app, but can also involve ankle bracelets or in-person visits. The ATD program has been touted strongly by the Biden administration, but Fox News Digital previously reported on a Trump-era draft report which described the program has "little value." 


But that estimate does not include the number of illegal immigrants who have not been formally released and have instead evaded Border Patrol, known as "gotaways." Officials have estimated to Fox News in July that more than 500,000 are known to have slipped past agents in FY22 so far, but have been detected by cameras or other sensors. There have been about 55,000 getaways each month this fiscal year.

That number is in addition to the 389,155 known​ gotaways that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas previously testified there were in all of FY21. The "known gotaways" by themselves therefore means that there have been approximately 900,000​ known gotaways since the beginning of FY21 (including four months before President Biden took office), which is equivalent to a population bigger than the city of San Francisco sneaking across the border. 


Even that number does not account for the numbers who have not only got past Border Patrol agents, but who have also not been detected by technology. That number is difficult to even estimate.

Those who have entered illegally have typically been deported if encountered by ICE. However, the Biden administration imposed limits on the agency, restricting them to focus on recent border crossers and national security and public safety threats.

That guidance has since been blocked by a court injunction, but arrests and deportations plummeted under the Biden administration. In FY21, ICE arrested 74,082 noncitizens and deported 59,011 — down from 103,603 arrests and 185,884 removals in FY20 and 143,099 arrests and 267,258 deportations in FY19.

Fox News' Bill Melugin contributed to this report.