US Border "Encounters" Are Now Over 2.7 Million, up 49% YoY

Mark Hake

On Sept. 14, the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) division reported alarming numbers relating to what it calls "encounters."

These "encounters" relate to people that the CBP has processed at the border on a nationwide basis. Most of these are illegal alien entries into the U.S.

The encounters at the border exceeded 2.7 million in the last 12 months ending August. This is up 49% from last year when the numbers were 1.816 million.

This is based on the raw data that CBP data reported on a monthly basis. You can see this in the chart I have prepared below.

CBP Cumulative Data

These cumulative numbers are different from the CBP press release data as they use the "FY" or fiscal year data encounters.

For example, the CBP reported that the national FY cumulative encounters so far this fiscal year were 2.493 million. This compares with 1.956 million a year ago in a table that CBP prepared.

That seems to imply an increase of 27.5% (i.e., 2.493m / 1.956m). But the truth is the 12-month data was 2.707 million over the last 12 months. That represents a 49% gain YoY over the prior 1.816 million in encounters in Aug. 2021.

The CBP either intentionally or mistakenly added up the wrong set of numbers to compare.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

For example, their 2.493 number is actually only 11 months' worth of data from Oct. 2021 (the first year of the 2022 fiscal year) to Aug. 2022. But their 1.956 million number includes all 12 months of the FY 2021 year.

That is why my chart above shows that the real, actual number of national encounters over the last 12 months ending August 2022 has been 2.7 million, not 2.49 million.

This represents a 49.0% increase over the 1.816 million encounters in the 12 months ending Aug. 2021. That is a huge difference compared to the implied 27.5% increase that the CBP shows.

All I did was add up their monthly number in a spreadsheet. Look at the data below.

Here is the table that the CBP showed:

This shows the source of the CBP "error". Their "total" 2.493 million number is the FY number which includes just 11 months from Oct. 2021 to Aug. 2022. This compares to the "total" 1.956 million number for FY 2021 ending Sept. 2021, which had 12 months' worth of data.

So you can see the CBP compares apples vs. oranges (11 months of data vs. 12 months of data), whereas my data compares actual year-over (YoY) monthly data for the last 12 months.

Bottom Line: People Crossing the US Border Illegally Is Accelerating

The point is encounters are now up 49% YoY, a massive increase. Don't let the CBP let you think otherwise.

In other words, the number of people crossing the border is accelerating. You can see this in the monthly number.

In August 2022, there were 251 thousand encounters. A year ago it was 231K and in Sept. 2020 it was just 74K.

This implies that sometime in the next six months the monthly number could exceed 300,000 people crossing the US border. That could imply a run rate of well over 3.1 million people annually, given seasonal changes.

That would represent another 15% increase over the 2.7 million encounters in the last 12 months.

Bottom line - the US border is basically open, as the number of people crossing it is accelerating.


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Mark R. Hake, CFA writes articles on stocks and cryptos at,,, and as well as TalkMarkets.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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