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Federal law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border stopped 180,034 people who tried to enter the country illegally in May, the highest number in more than two decades, signaling a worsening of the crisis that has troubled President Joe Biden's early tenure.
The May total, recording those who tried to get into the United States by sneaking in between land crossings or were denied entry at border checkpoints, was up from 178,622 in April and 172,331 in March. Roughly 8,000 of the 180,034 people whom border authorities encountered were denied entry at a port of entry, while the remainder went across the border through unfenced areas.
The situation at the southern border has drawn little reaction from Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris. Both have yet to visit the 2,000-mile international boundary and have ignored calls for more action from Republicans, as well as Democrats.
Since the fiscal year 2021 began in October 2020, a total of 929,868 people have been encountered unlawfully trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico, more than the 459,000 in all of 2020.
Over the past decade, an average of 30,000 to 50,000 people were encountered trying to get across the southern border unlawfully every month. The numbers 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 in its small facilities, a move that was meant to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among migrants and law enforcement.
The number of children who came across without a parent or guardian dropped from 17,171 in April to 10,765. It is the third-highest amount in the Border Patrol’s 97-year history and down from the peak of 18,960 in March. The previous record of 11,861 was set in May 2019.
The Biden administration in late January opted not to continue turning away unaccompanied children, as had been the Trump administration’s policy for adults and families. Because virtually all adults who illegally cross will not be taken into custody and referred for prosecution, many adults have repeatedly attempted to get across more than one time.
Federal data revealed that 117,397 adults were stopped while trying to sneak in last month. Of that number, 35% had been previously caught at least one time in the past 12 months, which is more than twice the normal 15% recidivism rate in recent years.
“The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of noncitizens making multiple border crossing attempts, and means total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border,” Border Patrol’s parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said in a statement issued Wednesday evening.
Border Patrol agents encountered 40,708 people who arrived as part of a family group last month, down from 54,125 in March. About half of the families were from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and the remainder of families were from countries around the world.
The Biden administration insists the southern border is not in a state of crisis despite its having 10 emergency childcare shelters open nationwide to house children who showed up without parents. Children are held for approximately four weeks while the government searches for an adult in the U.S. to release him or her to.
Children are often abandoned by smugglers in rural places near the border in hopes that a federal agent will find the child.
“Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, leading to a dramatic rise in the number of rescues CBP performs,” said CBP.
Federal law enforcement have rescued more than 7,000 people in 2021, more than in all of 2020.
Under the CDC recommendation, border authorities returned 62% of all people, 112,302 to their home countries. The large majority of the roughly 68,000 people who were not expelled have been or will be released into the U.S.
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Original Author: Anna Giaritelli
Original Location: Illegal border crossing attempts reach new high under Biden: 180,000 in May