Federal border officials reported a record number of migrant crossings at the southern border in a statistics release Friday night just before Christmas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded 233,740 migrant encounters nearly 2,000 miles south in November, the highest on record for that month and up from 178,845 for the same period last year, an increase of more than 30%.
At least 16% of the migrants encountered had already attempted to cross the border to the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security data dump was first reported by PKB News and the timing led to speculation that the Biden administration was trying to keep the new numbers secret.
The news was tweeted by PKB’s Bill Melugin in a post that was retweeted by the owner and CEO of Twitter Elon Musk late Friday who responded with two exclamation marks.
“In a glaring Friday night news dump ahead of Christmas weekend, the Feds released the November Borders numbers,” Melugin tweeted.
Many of the new arrivals were from communist countries, such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics.
The Biden administration is under pressure to resolve the tidal wave of migrants crossing the southern border that is overwhelming border towns such as El Paso, Texas, where hundreds are sleeping on the streets. Last week, the city’s mayor, Oliver Leeser, declared a state of emergency to deal with the influx.
Earlier this week, President Biden asked the Supreme Court to delay the end of a Trump-era policy that allowed Border Patrol agents to return migrants to Mexico.
Title 42 was originally scheduled to end on December 21, but was extended until after Christmas.