Illegal border crossings surge on Biden’s highest term

WASHINGTON – A surge in Cuban and Nicaraguan arrivals at the US-Mexico border in December led to the highest number of illegal border crossings recorded in a month of Joe Biden’s presidency, authorities said on Friday.

The extraordinary influx came just before Biden introduced measures Jan. 5 to deter Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans.

U.S. authorities stopped migrants along the Mexico border 251,487 times in December, up 7% from 234,896 times in November and 40% from more than 179,253 times in December 2021, Customs and Border Protection said.

Cubans were stopped almost 43,000 times in December, up 23% from November and more than five times the same period last year. Nicaraguans have been stopped more than 35,000 times, up 3% from November and more than double from December 2021.

Other migrants were also stopped from Ecuador and Peru.

The influx from Cuba and Nicaragua made El Paso, Texas, the busiest of the nine sectors of the Border Patrol along the Mexico border for the third straight month. The city was swamped with migrants released to pursue their immigration cases in the US in the weeks leading up to February 19 Biden’s visit on January 8, his first border crossing as President.

The number of Venezuelan arrivals remained well below the September highs, when the South American country boasted the second-highest nationality at the border after Mexicans. In October, The US agreed to accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans on humanitarian parole, while Mexico agreed to take back the same number who entered the US illegally and could be expelled under a pandemic rule to protect the right to asylum to refuse to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Biden said this month the U.S. would accept up to 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela on humanitarian parole to allow them to live and work for two years if they apply online, pay airfare and get financial support find sponsor. At the same time, Mexico agreed to take back an equal number from the four countries that can enter the US illegally and be removed from the pandemic-era rule known as Title 42.

CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller signaled the latest measures may be having the desired effect.

“Initial data suggests that the expanded measures are having a similar impact on Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans, and we look forward to sharing the additional data in the next update,” he said in a press release.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Illegal border crossings surge on Biden’s highest term

Sarah Y. Kim

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