CBP encounters highest monthly number of migrants attempting to cross border since 2000

Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 200,000 people at the southern border in July, reaching a number not seen in two decades, according to preliminary numbers cited by a senior Department of Homeland Security official in a court filing on Monday. .

During the first 29 days of July, CBP saw an average of 6,779 people per day, including 616 unaccompanied children and 2,583 people in family units. Overall, the agency encountered a “record” 19,000 unaccompanied minors during this period and the second highest number of encounters with family units, at around 80,000, the assistant secretary for the Borders and Immigration Policy at DHS David Shahoulian on file.

The number of individuals encountered at the border is the highest since FY 2000, according to CBP records. Unauthorized migrants encountered by CBP in the border region are arrested and detained for processing. So far this year, the majority have been deported under Title 42, a decades-old section of the public health code implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, but more than 300,000 have been returned to custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or released with future court. Appointment.

Border crossings have increased, increasing every month since October 2020. Last month, 188,829 migrants attempted to cross the border, according to CBP, reaching 210,000 encounters with individuals at the southern border in July. By comparison, in July 2019, CBP encountered 81,000 people attempting to cross the border, and in July 2020, that number was 40,000.

The filing came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups seeking to overturn Title 42 restrictions along the southern border. The Trump-era measure currently restricts anyone entering the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition of advocacy groups fighting Title 42 deportations says the measure unlawfully restricts access to asylum opportunities for those fleeing violence and persecution. Immigration officials acknowledged the rapid nature of the deportations, some of which were completed in less than 24 hours.

While Shahoulian suggested that the number of people crossing the border were unique individuals, typically when CBP reports encounters, it includes those who have made multiple crossing attempts. In June, for example, around a third of migrants stopped at the border had already tried to cross at least once in 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday — the same day the ACLU renewed its lawsuit — that it would extend Title 42, continuing to cite concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families of Central American asylum-seeking migrants wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas on July 30, 2021.

Go Nakamura/Reuters

The CDC order, which exempts unaccompanied minors, “temporarily suspends the introduction of certain non-nationals based on the Director’s determination that the introduction of such non-nationals ‘through the Mexican or Canadian border’ creates a grave danger of the introduction of COVID-19 into the United States. United States,” the agency said in a press release Monday.

PHOTO: Families of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America wait to be processed by US Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas on July 30, 2021 .

Families of Central American asylum-seeking migrants wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas on July 30, 2021.

Go Nakamura/Reuters

Homeland Security Secretary Aljeandro Mayorkas told reporters at a news conference in Mexico City in June that Title 42 was “not an immigration policy tool.”

But Shahoulian, in the court filing, said CBP has “limited ability to retain and process families, and the current influx of migrants and the ongoing pandemic have only exacerbated these issues.”

He said the delta variant of COVID-19 has made the situation at the border more complicated due to the speed at which it is spreading.

“The rates at which non-citizens met test positive for COVID-19 have increased significantly in recent weeks,” he said.

He added that lifting Title 42 restrictions now would pose a danger not only to migrants, but also to DHS employees.

“And while the infection rate among CBP officers has declined, that rate has recently started to rise again, even though the percentage of officers and agents who have been fully vaccinated has increased significantly since January. This has led to an increasing number of CBP personnel isolated and hospitalized,” he said.

The Title 42 expansion was cheered by Republicans who argued there was a crisis along the southern border due to the influx of migrants entering the country.

“Good news: The authority of Title 42 has been expanded,” said Chad Wolf, former acting secretary of Homeland Security. tweeted tuesday. “Absolutely necessary to deal with COVID and the border crisis which is getting worse every month.”

The Biden administration has made other efforts to reduce the number of migrants in Homeland Security custody. Since the beginning of this year, it has worked to set up emergency shelters for unaccompanied minors, and employees from across the federal government have been sent on temporary assignment to immigration facilities across the country. personal.

Border authorities have even begun releasing increasing numbers of migrants inside the United States without court dates, ABC News reported earlier this year.

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