Illegal border crossings into the US from Mexico reach high for the year

SAN DIEGO – A surge in migration from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in September brought the number of illegal border crossings to the highest level ever recorded in a fiscal year, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Year-end numbers reflect deteriorating economic and political conditions in some countries, the relative strength of the US 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 rose 11.5% from 204,087 times in August and 18.5% from 192,001 times in September 2021.

In the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, migrants were stopped 2.38 million times, up 37% from 1.73 million a year earlier. by numbers published late Friday evening. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time in August, more than double the number 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 from Mexico and three countries in northern Central America, which historically accounted for most of the influx.

That remarkable geographic shift is at least in part the result of Title 42, a public health regulation that suspends the right to asylum under US and international law to prevent 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 in the United States to pursue their immigration cases.

The Title 42 Power of Attorney has been requested 2.4 million times since it began in March 2020, but has fallen disproportionately on migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

US and Mexican officials said on Friday that Venezuelan migration to the United States had fallen by 80% since Oct. 12, when the US began deporting Venezuelans to Mexico under Title 42. At the same time, the Biden administration pledged to admit up to 24,000 Venezuelans to the United States on humanitarian parole if they apply online with a financial sponsor and enter through an airport, much like tens of thousands of Ukrainians have come since Russia invaded their country .

“While these early data are not reflected in the (September) report, they confirm what we have been saying all along: if there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely taking their lives into their own hands by smugglers trying to cross the border illegally,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus.

The expansion of Title 42 for Venezuelans to be deported to Mexico came despite the government’s attempt to end the public health agency in May, which was blocked by a federal judge.

Venezuelans represent the second largest nationality at the border for Mexicans for the second straight month, where they were stopped 33,804 times in September, up 33% from 25,361 times in August.

Cubans participating in the greatest exodus from the Caribbean island to the United States since 1980, were stopped at the border 26,178 times in September, a 37% increase from 19,060 in August.

Nicaraguans were stopped 18,199 times in September, up 55% from 7,298 times in August.

The report is the final monthly reading of migration flows ahead of the US midterm elections, an issue many Republicans have emphasized in campaigns to seize control of the House and Senate. Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee released a one-sentence statement Saturday in response to the numbers: “You must be kidding.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Illegal border crossings into the US from Mexico reach high for the year

Sarah Y. Kim

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