According to new CBP numbers obtained by Axios, nearly a million illegal immigrants have been detained by US Customs and Border Protection since October 1, 2020, with more than 170,000 caught last month.
With four months left in the fiscal year, the figures are already at their highest level since 2006, according to the outlet.
“The number of migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year is already the most since 2006 — with four months left to go,” Axios noted. “Why it matters: The numbers quantify a lingering problem. Nearly 900,000 migrants were stopped by the Border Patrol from Oct. 1 to May 31. There also were more than 170,000 apprehensions last month — in line with 20-year records set in March and April.”
According to CNN, the number of illegal immigrants caught daily has been stable for several months at roughly 170,000.
More importantly, the CBP data appears to show that, while the majority of immigrants arrive at the US-Mexico border from Mexico and Central America, an increasing number of migrants are arriving from “farther afield,” including Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, and Haiti, undermining Vice President Kamala Harris’ strategy for addressing the “root causes” of illegal immigration.
This week, Harris is in Guatemala, promising the Guatemalan government a large aid package in exchange for increased immigration enforcement along the country’s border with Mexico. Guatemala has not reacted well thus far; in an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Guatemala’s president blamed the Biden administration for the increase in migrant activity.
The majority of migrants still come from the “Northern Triangle,” but as Axios points out, Ecuadorian migrants now account for a sizable portion of those apprehended, causing the CBP’s interdiction tactics to adapt.
“In just five sectors, more than 32,000 Ecuadorians have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year. About 13,000 Brazilians have been stopped in the Yuma, Arizona, sector alone, on top of about 7,000 in two other sectors, according to the data,” Axios reported. “There were fewer than 40,000 migrants not from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador encountered by border officials for the entire fiscal year of 2018.”
According to The Washington Post, the White House has been pushing for a more liberal approach to border security, increasing funding for lodging and care for child migrants and other asylum seekers while keeping the Department of Homeland Security budget virtually steady, despite the spike.
However, as the Biden administration lowered DHS’s emphasis on border security, it secretly increased pressure on Mexico to tighten its borders in the hopes of intercepting and turning back migrants from the so-called “Northern Triangle.” According to Buzzfeed News, the administration is attempting to reach an agreement with Mexican officials before meeting with Vice President Harris.
“The Biden administration wants Mexico to send back more immigrants turned around by the US, take back additional families expelled by border agents, and do more to prevent Mexican airports from being used as pit stops for migration routes, according to government documents,” the outlet reported last week.
In her efforts to address the “root causes” of immigration, Harris has not — and will not — visit the US-Mexico border. In a Tuesday morning interview with Lester Holt, Harris adamantly refused to admit that her responsibilities in Mexico and Central America included border security.