Nearly 1 million people arrived at the U.S. border with Mexico and were encountered by law enforcement over the past 12 months, marking a major spike from any year in the past decade, the country's top border official announced Tuesday.
Just under 980,000 people were encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2019, which ran from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which handles all border and trade affairs. A total 521,090 people were encountered along the southern border in fiscal 2018.
Encounters, which include contact with those who illegally crossed and those who were turned away for lack of documentation at ports of entry, are an indicator of how many people tried to illegally cross into the country.
"This is a staggering 88% higher than the number of enforcement actions in 2018," acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said during a press conference at the White House Tuesday morning. "These numbers are numbers that no immigration system in the world is designed to handle, including ours."
Morgan said officials believe another 150,000 people eluded being caught while crossing in fiscal 2019.