During President Joe Biden’s first term in office, more people have entered the country unlawfully who were detected by cameras and other means but were not apprehended than during the entire decade before Biden took office, according to internal Customs and Border Protection reports.

These migrants who evade apprehension are referred to as “gotaways,” or a person who “is directly or indirectly observed making an unlawful entry into the United States; is not apprehended; and is not a turn back.” Fox News filed a Freedom of Information Act to obtain the data about how many gotaways there are each year. All data goes by fiscal years and ranges from 2010 to 2023.

From 2010 to 2020, when former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump held office, around 1.4 million gotaways entered the country. But from 2020 to 2023, there have been 1.6 million gotaways. The lowest point for gotaways was fiscal year 2011 at 86,226, and the highest was 2023 at 670,674.

The average number of gotaways entering the country during 2010 to 2016 (Obama’s presidency) and 2017 to 2020 (Trump’s presidency) was around the same. The biggest increase occurred in between 2020 and 2021.

Katherine Fung wrote in an article published by Newsweek that Biden is expected to announce changes to the immigration system, perhaps coming as soon as Thursday.

“Those changes are reportedly aimed at speeding up the process and potential removal of migrants so that instead of being released into the country to wait out their asylum court dates, migrants would be processed quicker,” Fung said.

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said, “DHS 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. 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 gotaways.”

“So apparently Biden thinks it’s okay to let (in) 1,460,000 illegal immigrants per year before shutting down the border. That’s outrageous,” said Sen. Mike Lee in a social media post.

Retweeting Fox News reporter Bill Melugin’s original post with the data, Lee said, “An invasion of our country. The articles of impeachment for the man responsible, DHS Secretary Mayorkas, sit untouched by Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer, who violates the constitution to ensure Mayorkas is never held accountable and the border remains shattered.”

Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens went on “Face the Nation” earlier this year and expressed concerns over gotaways.

“We’re closing on a million entries this fiscal year alone,” Owens said. “That number is a large number, but what’s keeping me up at night is the 140,000 known gotaways.”

Owens said the majority of migrants entering the country illegally are good people living in hard circumstances.

“Most of the folks that we’re encountering that are turning themselves in, you know, they’re coming across because they’re either fleeing terrible conditions, or they’re economic migrants looking for a better way of life,” Owens said. “It doesn’t make them bad people, it’s just that they’re not being respectful for the laws that we’ve established as a country.”

As for the reasons behind the increase, there’s been different opinions expressed. David J. Bier, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, published an article earlier this spring showing a spike in the rate of gotaways known to Border Patrol from 2020 into 2023, but a decrease after the end of Title 42.

Bier said, “As it shows, since Title 42 ended, the gotaway rate has fallen dramatically to below 14 percent, the lowest level outside of a couple months in 2019.” In the pages of The New York Times, Bier has argued that Biden ought to create more avenues for people to enter the country lawfully.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., pointed toward the 7.5 million encounters at the southern border since Biden took office and wrote in a piece for USA Today the issue was with the Biden administration. He said the Trump administration policies were more effective.

“The American taxpayers in cities and states hundreds or thousands of miles away from the border now bear the burden of the Biden administration’s inept leadership on this issue,” Kelly said.

Troy A. Miller, Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner, previously told The Hill that the agency’s resources are stretched. “The encounter levels we are currently seeing across the southwest border are presenting a serious challenge to the men and women of (Custom and Border Protection),” he said.

Earlier this year, the Senate voted on a sweeping bipartisan border bill, but it couldn’t get the 60 votes needed to pass. And even if it had passed in the Senate, the bill was reportedly dead on arrival in the House.

More than 80 Democrats wrote a letter to Biden as he has considered what his administration could do in response to the border crisis. They asked him to “take all available actions to streamline pathways to lawful status for undocumented immigrants.”

During a national security hearing on Capitol Hill in October 2023, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the number of gotaways was “a powerful example of a broken immigration system.” He said it’s been an issue the department had faced for decades.

Mayorkas told a NPR reporter on Friday that the administration has “built more lawful pathways” than any other administration and that they were “seeking to disincentivize arriving in between the ports of entry at our dangerous southern border.” When the reporter asked if it was fair to say this wasn’t working, Mayorkas said “migration is a dynamic phenomenon, so the numbers increase and they decrease. But the numbers have decreased.”

In a hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, questioned Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about 85,000 children who were released to sponsors in the U.S. after coming into the country without their parents.

The 85,000 figure comes from The New York Times which reported, “While H.H.S. checks on all minors by calling them a month after they begin living with their sponsors, data obtained by the Times showed that over the last two years, the agency could not reach more than 85,000 children. Overall, the agency lost immediate contact with a third of migrant children.”

Owens referred to the children as “lost” and Becerra pushed back on the characterization and said it wasn’t a real statistic. “That’s the thing, they’re not lost,” said Becerra.

“OK let me just say this: When you leave it, you give it to a sponsor, they do not answer the phone — you don’t know where those kids are, they are lost,” said Owens. “If you don’t know where they are, you don’t have the address, you can’t go and pick them up, you can’t look at doing a welfare (check), they are lost.”