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Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu March 8, 2024

No, 10 million people have not entered the U.S. under Biden as pastor Franklin Graham claims

If Your Time is short

  • There have been 8.7 million migrant encounters since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021. Encounters are events and do not represent people; the same person can try entering the country multiple times, and each time is an encounter.

  • Encounters don’t represent how many people have entered illegally and are now living in the U.S. 

  • No spin, just facts you can trust. Here's how we do it.

Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham made a trip to Texas and, while there, he waded into the immigration debate.

"(Joe Biden) undid all of the policies that former President Donald J. Trump put in place," Graham wrote in a Feb. 27 Facebook post.  "As a result, over 10 million people have come across the border with no vetting, no plan, and no path."

Days later, Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, shared a photo of himself shaking hands with Trump. "Look who I ran into at the border today! He was a great encouragement to many here," he wrote.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Graham did not cite evidence for this claim and did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment.

A November 2023 report by Pew Research Center estimated that "the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States reached 10.5 million in 2021." But that figure includes people who have lived in the U.S. for years, even decades before Biden became president. 

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We have seen this 10 million figure cited before, with some articles attributing it to The Center Square, a conservative news outlet. The Center Square’s article appears to have based some of its numbers on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s nationwide encounters data, including for a number of months Trump was in office. The Center Square also said it based its analysis partly on information from a U.S. Border Patrol agent who wanted to remain anonymous.

But the encounters data represents stops at the border — not people. These numbers don’t tell us how many people now live in the United States after crossing the border illegally. For example, a person who has been stopped by border officials on three separate occasions would be counted as three encounters. People encountered by immigration officials can be turned away, detained in federal custody or released into the country.

The Customs and Border Patrol encounters data shows that from February 2021, Biden’s first full month as president, to January 2024, the month with the latest available data, immigration officials recorded nearly 8.8 million encounters nationwide.

There also have been more than 3.6 million removals, returns and expulsions from February 2021, Biden’s first month in office, to September 2023, based on Department of Homeland Security estimates.

There are no definitive numbers for how many people have entered the country illegally since Biden became president in January 2021. It is also hard to accurately measure the number of people who have illegally crossed the U.S. border because border authorities don’t stop everyone.

We rate the claim that "over 10 million people have come across the border with no vetting, no plan, and no path" during Biden’s presidency False.

PolitiFact Staff Writer Maria Ramirez Uribe contributed to this report

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No, 10 million people have not entered the U.S. under Biden as pastor Franklin Graham claims

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