CBS News reported new information about Venezuelan migration at the U.S.-Mexico border in September, from preliminary U.S. government data:

Approximately 50,000 migrants from crisis-stricken Venezuela crossed the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully last month, a record and once-unthinkable number, according to preliminary Department of Homeland Security statistics obtained by CBS News.

According to my records (U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s public monthly reporting by citizenship is spotty before the mid-2010s), 50,000 Venezuelan citizens is the greatest-ever number of migrants in a single month at the U.S.-Mexico border from any country other than Mexico. For non-Mexican migrants, the closest numbers I see in the past are 45,201 citizens of Guatemala in May 2019, and 45,297 citizens of Honduras in July 2021.

Charted out, that September number would look like this. The blue part, which more than doubled from August to September, is Venezuelan migrants who crossed the border between ports of entry, ending up in Border Patrol custody. We still don’t know the additional green part for September, which shows migrants who came to ports of entry, usually with “CBP One” appointments (9,373 Venezuelan citizens in August).

Chart: Citizens of Venezuela: CBP Encounters At and Between Ports of Entry

Using numbers in the linked data table, shows monthly Venezuelan migrants since October 2019 as columns. Venezuelan migrants are a few hundred per month at most until February and March 2021, then rise above 30,000 in 3 months between September 2022 and May 2023. They rise above 30,000 in August, then reach the estimated 50,000 in September—without including those who come to ports of entry, which hasn't been reported yet.

Data table without the September estimate added

Heavy U.S.-bound movement of Venezuelan citizens continues through the Darién Gap, Central America, and Mexico. If arrivals continue at this pace, calls to “do something” about the situation causing so many Venezuelans to migrate will proliferate. Within a few months, Venezuela could be right up there—after perhaps Ukraine and the South China Sea—among the Biden administration’s top foreign policy priorities going into an election year.