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Approximately 190,000 people attempted to cross the southern border illegally from Mexico into the United States in June, the most seen in more than 21 years, Customs and Border Protection said Friday.
The number of noncitizens encountered by law enforcement last month is the highest level since President Joe Biden took office six months ago and walked back a number of Trump administration policies that had kept the numbers at less than half their present rate.
The 188,829 encounters recorded include people who tried to get into the country by coming over between land crossings and those who were denied entry at border crossings, according to Customs and Border Protection. Roughly 10,000 people whom border authorities encountered were denied entry at a port of entry, while the remainder went through unfenced areas.
"We are in the hottest part of the summer, and we are seeing a high number of distress calls to CBP from migrants abandoned in treacherous terrain by smugglers with no regard for human life,” CBP acting Commissioner Troy Miller said.
Since the government's fiscal year 2021 began in October 2020, a total of 1.12 million people have been encountered unlawfully trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico, more than 459,000 in all of 2020 and 977,000 in 2019. Democrats and Republicans both declared a humanitarian crisis at the border in 2019. However, most Democrats in Congress have not called the situation a "crisis," and Biden has not visited the international boundary since taking office despite requests from border lawmakers.
Over the past decade, about 30,000 to 50,000 people have been encountered at the border every month. That number dropped to less than 20,000 in April 2020, as border authorities implemented a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that no one who came across be detained but instead be turned back to Mexico. The move was meant to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among migrants and law enforcement, and it initially prompted a decline in illegal immigration until migrants realized they would not be arrested if caught and could try to get in again after being turned away.
Since March 2020, the number of attempted illegal crossings has risen every month, topping 70,000 in January when former President Donald Trump left office. It surpassed 172,000 in March and 178,000 in April as Biden eased border policies. Under the Biden administration, most families and all children who are from countries other than Mexico are released into the U.S. and will avoid court proceedings for years due to a backlog of cases that exceeds 1 million.
Border Patrol, the federal law enforcement agents who work in the spaces between crossing checkpoints, saw 113,000 adults, 15,000 unaccompanied children, and 50,000 people traveling as part of a family group in June.
Under the CDC recommendation that adults and families be returned to Mexico, border authorities expelled 104,907 people. Most of the remaining people who were not expelled have been or will be released into the U.S.
The Biden administration is in the process of standing up a new asylum process that will decide initial asylum claims at the border, a change meant to reduce the number of migrants automatically released into the U.S. The federal government cannot detain families for more than 20 days, prompting most to be released.
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Original Author: Anna Giaritelli