In March, US border agents captured 210,000 migrants attempting to cross the border with Mexico, the biggest monthly number in two decades and highlighting President Joe Biden’s concerns in the months ahead.
The March total is up 24% from the same month a year ago, when 169,000 migrants were apprehended at the border, marking the start of a surge in migration that left thousands of unaccompanied children trapped in overcrowded border patrol stations for days while waiting to be placed in overcrowded government-run shelters.
Biden, a Democrat who entered office in January 2021, promised to overturn much of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump’s, strict immigration policies, but he has battled both operationally and politically with the large number of attempted crossings.
Biden’s rollback of Trump-era policy, according to Republicans hoping to take control of Congress in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, has encouraged increased illegal immigration.
Officials from Biden’s office have warned that migration could increase further now that US health officials have announced that a pandemic-era border ban will be lifted by May 23. To limit the spread of COVID-19, the decree, known as Title 42, authorises asylum seekers and other migrants to be quickly deported to Mexico.
While more than half of the migrants encountered at the US-Mexico border in recent months came from the typical sending countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, migrants from further afield, such as Ukraine and Russia, have become more common.
Officials in the United States are preparing for up to 18,000 migrant interactions every day in the coming weeks, but they are also anticipating lesser rises.
According to US Customs and Border Protection records dating back to 2000, the 210,000 migrants apprehended in March was the highest monthly number on record since February 2000, according to a court document made public on Friday night.
According to the court complaint, another 11,000 migrants attempted to enter without a valid visa or permission at a legitimate crossing along the southwest border in March.
According to the court filing, over half of the migrants apprehended in March were deported under the Title 42 order.