Illegal border crossings into the US from Mexico have reached a one-year high
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A surge in migration from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in September pushed the number of illegal crossings to the highest level ever in a fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The year-end numbers reflect worsening economic and political conditions in some countries, the relative strength of the U.S. economy and uneven enforcement of Trump-era asylum restrictions.
Migrants were stopped 227,547 times at the US-Mexico border in September, the third-highest month of Joe Biden’s presidency. It increased by 11.5% from 204,087 times in August and by 18.5% from 192,001 times in September 2021.
Migrants were stopped 2.38 million times in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, up 37% from 1.73 million a year earlier. according to the numbers released late Friday night. The annual total topped 2 million for the first time in August and is more than double the highest level during Donald Trump’s presidency in 2019.
Nearly 78,000 migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua were stopped in September, compared with about 58,000 migrants from Mexico and three northern Central American countries, which have historically accounted for most of the flow.
The a great geographic shift is at least in part the result of Section 42, the Public Health Regulations, which suspend eligibility for asylum under US and international law based on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
Due to strained diplomatic relations, the US cannot deport migrants to Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua. As a result, they are mostly released to the United States for immigration proceedings.
Title 42’s powers have been invoked 2.4 million times since it was enacted in March 2020, but have fallen disproportionately on migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
U.S. and Mexican officials said Friday that Venezuelan migration to the U.S. has dropped by 80% since Oct. 12, when the U.S. began deporting Venezuelans to Mexico under Section 42. At the same time, the Biden administration has pledged to take up to 24,000 Venezuelans to Mexico. United States under humanitarian parole if they apply online through a financial sponsor and enter through an airport, similar to how tens of thousands of Ukrainians arrived after Russia invaded their country.
“Although this initial data is not reflected in the (September) report, it confirms what we have been saying all along: that if there is a legal and orderly way to enter the country, people will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border illegally.” , CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said.
The expansion of Section 42 for Venezuelans subject to deportation to Mexico comes despite an attempt by the administration to shut down health authorities in May, which was blocked by a federal judge.
Venezuelans represented the second largest nationality at the border after Mexicans for the second month in a row, they were stopped 33,804 times in September, up 33% from 25,361 in August.
Cubans participating in the the biggest exodus from the Caribbean island to the United States since 1980, were stopped 26,178 times at the border in September, a 37% increase from 19,060 in August.
Nicaraguans were stopped 18,199 times in September, which is a 55% increase compared to 7,298 times in August.
The report is the latest monthly update on migration flows ahead of the US midterm elections, an issue that many Republicans have highlighted in their campaigns to seize control of the House and Senate. Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee issued a one-sentence statement Saturday in response to the numbers: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”