Record numbers of migrant families were reportedly apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in August, according to preliminary data, raising questions about a new Biden administration policy that was meant to stem migration.
The U.S. Border Patrol arrested an estimated 91,000 migrants who entered the southern border in August in family groups, the Washington Post reported citing preliminary figures, eclipsing the previous one-month record of 84,486 in May 2019 under the Trump administration.
The August figures, which the Post obtained exclusively, could change slightly when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection releases official numbers later this month. USA TODAY was unable to verify the figures independently.
A Biden administration rule that went in effect in May requires migrants heading to the U.S. border to first seek protection in Mexico before attempting to do so in the U.S.
Under pressure to address surging migration, President Joe Biden adopted the rule following the expiration of Title 42, a COVID-19 pandemic policy that allowed the U.S. to cite fears of spreading the virus as a reason to expel migrants.
Total border apprehensions − which includes single adults and unaccompanied adults in addition to families − have now increased for two months after dropping sharply in May and June.
An estimated 177,000 migrants were arrested at the border in August, according to the Washington Post, up from 132,652 in July and 99,539 in June. The August figured topped the 171,387 migrants apprehended in May and is now only slightly fewer than the 183,919 arrested in April, before Biden’s new rule started.
Based on the preliminary figures, August marked the first month since Biden entered the White House in which more migrants crossed illegally into the U.S. through Mexico as part of family groups rather than as undocumented single adults or unaccompanied minors.
The Department of Homeland Security would not confirm the preliminary figures.
Erin Heeter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the federal government has removed or returned more than 200,000 migrants who crossed the border since May including 17,000 parents or children who arrived in family groups. She said the administration increased the number of flights in August to remove undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border.
“This administration continues to lead the largest expansion of lawful pathways in decades, which has reduced irregular migration while facilitating safe, orderly, and humane management of our borders,” Heeter said. “But as with every year, the U.S. is seeing ebbs and flows of migrants arriving fueled by seasonal trends and the efforts of smugglers to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable migrants and encourage migration.”
She said the Biden administration remains “vigilant and continue to adjust our operational plans” to maximize enforcement against migrants who don’t use lawful paths into the U.S.
Source : Yahoo