Surge of migrants as US arrests 210,000 at border in March
WASHINGTON DC: In March, US border authorities arrested 210,000 migrants attempting to cross the Mexican border, the highest monthly total in two decades and highlighting challenges in the coming months for President Joe Biden.
The figure is a 24 percent increase from the same month last year, when 169,000 migrants were arrested at the border.
Democrat Biden, who took office in January 2021, pledged to reverse many hardline immigration policies introduced by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, but has struggled overall with the high numbers of attempted crossings.
Republicans, who hope to win control of the US Congress in November midterm elections, said Biden’s rollback of Trump-era policies has encouraged more illegal immigration.
After US health officials said they will end a pandemic-era border order by 23rd May, known as Title 42, administration officials have cautioned that migration could further increase.
Title 42 asylum seekers and other migrants allows to be rapidly expelled to Mexico to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While more than half of the migrants in recent months continue to come from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, more have been arriving from more far-flung countries, including Ukraine and Russia.
US officials are preparing for as many as 18,000 migrant encounters per day in the coming weeks, but are also readying for smaller increases.
According to US Customs and Border Protection statistics dating to 2000, the 210,000 migrants arrested in March, a figure made public in a court filing last week, is the highest monthly total on record since February 2000.
The court filing added that another 11,000 migrants without a valid visa or permission attempted to enter at a legal crossing along the southwest border in March, while around half of the migrants encountered during the month were expelled under Title 42.