Federal lawmakers seeking to pinpoint the number of illegal immigrants who successfully sneak across the southern border ordered up a report from the Department of Homeland Security, but the agency refuses to release it and instead cites a misleading statistic that overstates the number who are nabbed, sources told Fox News.

DHS denied it is holding back the report, but sources say it was completed in November and that it shows roughly half of adults who attempt to cross the border make it – approximately 250,000 in total.

But that number is at odds with DHS’ official estimates. The agency claims authorities catch 80 percent of adults trying to sneak in, but critics say the figure is padded to make it appear border security is more effective than it really is.

“The Obama administration knows that the number of illegal aliens successfully getting across the Mexican border is 158 percent higher than they are telling people,” said John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, who is familiar with the report. “The administration has made fraudulent changes in the numbers to hide this.”

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