Texas Governor Greg Abbott posted on Twitter:

Biden banned travel from South Africa because of the new Covid variant.

Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa.

Biden is doing nothing to stop immigrants from South Africa entering illegally.

Pure politics and hypocrisy.

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX)
2:48 PM · Nov 28, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone

Are there any documented cases of immigrants in:

  1. in the past year (2021)
  2. from South Africa
  3. that have crossed the Mexico-Texas border (not entering at an airport)
  4. entering the country illegally (many—45%—people enter legally then overstay)
  5. who were arrested?

It seems like a convoluted journey.

  • Generally speaking there have been Africans coming in through Mexico. Numbers would probably be lower this year due to travel restrictions world-wide, never mind that the US has been immediately deporting people back to Mexico using Covid rules, which under the US system doesn't even count as deporting them; see e.g. this confusion/question of mine: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/52390/… Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:41
  • If you are concerned about Omicron, it had already arrived in many countries before the announcement. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 23:56
  • "Immigrants" can refer to a single couple, so the statement can easily be trivially true yet virtually meaningless.
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


In 2020, 6 people from South Africa have been apprehended at the south-western border (for context, there have eg been more Albanians apprehended (16) than South Africans).

The number for South Africans is so low that it's not listed in the monthly stats, so for the 2021 stats, we'll need to wait until next year.

You can view the crossings by sector here (the sector abbreviations can be linked to the sector names here; BBT is eg Big Bend Sector Texas, etc).

Abbott himself later weakened his claim to be about "South Africa and other South African countries" and a generalized "apprehended by CBP" (so not necessarily while crossing the border) to reach the number of 50 people (though he doens't name a source for that number either).

  • 6
    For all those worried about illegal entries at our land borders, please keep in mind that illegal entry into our country is mostly not done at the border. It is mostly done (90%+) by obtaining a visa to visit and then not returning home before the visa expires theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/04/… . Why walk across when a cheap flight can place you in the heart of the country quickly, and in comfort?
    – Edwin Buck
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 14:08

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