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U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped about 5.62 million undocumented immigrants attempting to enter the country legally or illegally between January 2021 and January 2023. Wisconsin had an estimated population of 5.9 million in 2022.

Immigrants intentionally “let in” under the Biden administration include those granted asylum or waiting for an asylum hearing. In 2021, the latest data year available, 17,692 people were granted asylum. Currently, 1.6 million asylum seekers are awaiting adjudication.

Additionally, federal law requires the Office of Refugee Resettlement to house unaccompanied migrant children until they turn 18 or can be released to a sponsor. Nearly 130,000 such minors entered the shelter system in 2022, according to CBS.

While it is not possible to measure illegal immigration that has gone undetected, CBP confirmed to Newsweek that in fiscal year 2022, there were an estimated 600,000 “got-aways,” or unlawful entrants identified but not apprehended.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


US Customs and Border Protection: Nationwide Encounters

US Census: QuickFacts Wisconsin

US Department of Homeland Security: Refugees and Asylees: 2021

TRAC Immigration: A sober assessment of the growing US asylum backlog

US Department of Health and Human Services: Unaccompanied Children (UC) Program

CBS News: Nearly 130,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the U.S. shelter system in 2022, a record

Newsweek: Fact Check: Were There 600,000 Southern U.S. Border ‘Got-Aways’ in 2022?

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.