During a national security hearing on Capitol Hill, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified that more than 600,000 known “gotaways” were reported at the border for federal Fiscal Year 2023.

A ‘gotaway‘ is an illegal border crosser that is observed crossing into the U.S. but is not apprehended or turned back.

It is assumed the actual number of gotaways is higher than the reported 600,000.

Mayorkas stated that illegal aliens evading Border Patrol has been an issue for “decades.”

Previously, Mayorkas refused to admit that the border is open or that there is a problem with current border security policies.

“Since his first day in office, Secretary Mayorkas has intentionally undermined America’s immigration laws and ended meaningful border security enforcement, and in its place implemented an extreme agenda of open borders,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green (R–TN) during a hearing in June.

However, during this most recent hearing, Mayorkas said the immigration system is broken.

“In fact, it is a powerful example of a broken immigration system,” he said, referring to the number of gotaways.

FY23 saw 2,475,669 illegal alien encounters along the southwest border. Combined with the number of known gotaways, this brings the number of known illegals attempting to cross into the United States or successfully crossing to more than three million.

The total number of FBI terror watchlist suspects arrested along the southwest border in FY23 came out to 169—more than the previous six years combined. This excludes any potential suspects that may have evaded Border Patrol when crossing the border.

Throughout the past fiscal year, there were also several thousand criminal encounters at the border by USBP, including 12,659 subjects with criminal history, 852 subjects with warrants, and 564 gang members.

Again, this number does not reflect potential criminal gotaways.

According to DHS’ fiscal year 2024 threat assessment, agents have continued encountering a rapidly growing number of watchlist subjects. It also warned that “terrorists and criminal actors may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States.”

According to Customs and Border Protection Chief Jason Owens’ estimation, more than 18,000 gotaways made it into the U.S. between October 1-6.

During the hearing, a DHS official said the agency now has more personnel, technology, and resources than ever before “to send a clear message that our borders are not open to illegal migration.”

The Biden administration requested an additional $14 billion in funding to “aid its efforts in combating the ongoing crisis at the border, including money for migrant services and housing, anti-fentanyl technology and more border agents.”

However, while the federal government has hesitated to secure the border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is attempting to defend the Texas-Mexico border.

Currently, in its third special session, the state’s legislature is discussing measures to protect, secure, and reinforce the border.

The third special session ends no later than November 7.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.