WASHINGTON – A record number of migrants arrived at the southwest border last month, a slight increase from May and a sign that the surge this year could extend into the hotter summer months, when numbers usually start to decline.
June also brought more migrant families to the border than any other month since President Biden took office, according to new data released on Friday by Customs and Border Protection. In total, border officials there encountered migrants 188,829 times, the highest number in a single month in recent history.
The number of migrant children and adolescents arriving at the border has increased slightly since May, but influx has slowed since the spring when a steep increase led to Biden’s first immigration crisis as president. In June, an average of around 500 migrant children and adolescents arrived at the border alone, compared to around 600 a day in March.
The increase in family arrivals in June is still well below the record set in May 2019 when 84,000 families arrived. But rising totals and Mr. Biden’s rejection of President Donald J. Trump’s tough tactics against undocumented immigrants will soon force the administration to grapple with irritating political and political issues posed by the public health rule known as Title 42 largely avoided it.
According to internal data from the New York Times, nearly 15,000 children were in government shelters on Friday that were overseen by the Department of Health.
The number of single adult attempts to enter the country fell slightly in the last month; they were turned down 82 percent of the time under the public health rule.
According to data from Customs and Border Protection, 34 percent of all migrants encountered in June had tried at least one more time in the past 12 months to enter the country. The number of new migrants arriving at the southern border since October is only slightly lower than the last increase in 2019 during the Trump administration, the agency said.
The Republicans have taken up the surge in migration to the southern border – as has been driven in part by violence and poverty in Central America for years – and turned it into a political attack on Mr Biden. The party hopes the issue will shake voters up in next year’s midterm elections when it has a chance to regain control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Mr Biden campaigned to rebuild the country’s asylum system – once an emblem of his identity – after the Trump administration pushed through tough changes that downsized the categories of migrants who could apply for asylum and made it difficult for asylum seekers in the United States states to stay as their claims have been considered. As part of this, Biden’s government is preparing to host more migrant families, possibly starting in the coming weeks, in a phased approach to lifting the public health rule that many public health experts have identified as unnecessary.
But the government is increasingly allowing most migrant families to enter the country, 72 percent of whom are allowed to enter from March to June. Last month officials only turned away families 14 percent of the time which has been in force since the beginning of the pandemic. For comparison: in March, border officials turned away migrant families 40 percent of the time.
The Biden government, despite public health regulations, has accepted migrant families from Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela and other countries outside Mexico and Central America who cross the Mexican border because Mexico will not take them back once they enter the United States Conditions. Most families who are not turned back at the border apply for asylum and are released from custody to wait for their cases to go through the congested immigration court system.
Since 2014, migrant families have appeared in large numbers on the southern border. Most come from Central America, where they fled violence and poverty. This year, however, large families have arrived from some pandemic-hit countries such as Brazil and Venezuela. Haitians and Cubans also arrived at the border before the recent riots.
Non-profit organizations along the border were typically the first port of call for many of these families after going through screenings and interviews with border guards. But without a consistent policy, shelters have found it difficult to adequately prepare for migrant families to cross the border on any given day, said Lisa Koop, assistant director of legal at the National Immigrant Justice Center.
“It seems like they make things up over time,” Ms. Koop said of the Biden administration.
Many of the migrants who pass shelters on the American side of the border haven’t been there long, she said. They often make their way to a destination where family members already live in the country.