A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that known gotaways have increased drastically since President Joe Biden took office on January 20, 2021.

Known gotaways are defined as illegal aliens that are seen or detected by United States Border Patrol agents entering the country but manage to evade apprehension in one way or another.

Fox News reporter Bill Melugin broke the news Wednesday on his X account, releasing data that shows that, from Fiscal Year 2021 through 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded over 1.6 million known gotaways.

That is in contrast to the more than 1.4 million gotaways recorded over a 10-year period before Biden took office.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security “continues to take significant actions to disrupt transnational criminal networks amidst unprecedented hemispheric migration, resulting in a decline in southwest border encounters in recent months,” a CBP spokesperson told Fox News on Thursday.

“Since the return to full Title 8 processing in May 2023 after the end of the Title 42 Public Health Order, increased enforcement and removals have led to a significant reduction in observed getaways,” they added.

Before the start of the Biden administration, the CBP data showed that known gotaways averaged around 100,000 year-over-year since 2010, which includes the latter half of former President Barack Obama’s presidency and all of Donald Trump’s.

However, in FY 2021, that data began to change. The number shot up to 387,398 that fiscal year, followed by another spike to 606,131 in FY 2022 and finally 670,674 in FY 2023.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has attempted to defend his department’s reaction to the burgeoning crisis at the southern border by accusing Congress of not reforming the nation’s immigration system.

“We need legislation to fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system,” Mayorkas said on NBC News in February.

“The system has not been fixed for 30 years,” he continued. “A bipartisan group of senators has now presented us with the tools and resources we need … and yet Congress killed it before even reading it. … we don’t bear responsibility for a broken system.”

Republicans in the U.S. House are less convinced of Mayorkas’ claims and went as far as to impeach him after an April vote. Still, the ensuing removal trial was dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

There have been over 7 million Border Patrol encounters with illegal aliens since Biden took office, according to publicly available data. By contrast, there were under 2 million encounters during Trump’s presidency.

Selene Rodriguez, the campaign director for the Secure and Sovereign Texas campaign at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, previously warned Texas Scorecard of the potentially millions of unknown gotaways already in the U.S.

“I am also fearful of the thousands of criminals that are tucked away in every state in our nation due to lawless catch and release policies and a federal government that refuses to secure our border,” stated Rodriguez. “What we do know is that it is easier than ever for people to illegally enter our nation and to do so without detection.”

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.