More than 172,000 people, most of them single adults, tried to enter the United States at the southern border in March, 71% more than in February, according to statistics released Thursday by Customs and Human Rights Protection. borders. This is the largest monthly total for at least 15 years.
There was also a record number of unaccompanied minors in March: 18,890 Central American children, double the February total and the largest one-month tally on record. The previous record of 11,475 unaccompanied minors occurred in May 2019.
The Migrant Crossing Record tests the Biden administration’s ability to mitigate the push and properly care for families and children at the border. The president and his senior officials have declined to call the situation a “crisis,” repeatedly pointing out that the government has inherited chaos from the Donald Trump administration and that the current influx is akin to the surges past administrations have experienced. been faced.
Biden administration officials told reporters he was working with various government agencies and other partners to alleviate the situation as quickly as possible, including adding thousands of beds. in facilities across Texas and beyond for unaccompanied children. Officials also said they were adding several emergency reception sites to reduce overcrowding at CBP facilities and avoid holding children longer than the legal limit of 72 hours.
Officials noted that the daily 30-day average of children transferred out of CBP custody rose from 276 at the end of February to 507 at the end of March. The administration had previously faced backlash as it struggled to provide adequate housing for the thousands of minors entering the country.
“We will use all the options available to us to safely care for the children in our care, and that includes both long and short term solutions,” a Biden administration official told reporters in a report. information call.
According to Thursday’s data, CBP also deported 103,900 people in March, or 60% of the total, as part of a Trump-era policy known as Title 42, which allows border officials to refuse. migrants in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Officials said 28% of them were people who had previously tried to enter and had been turned away.
Although Biden has vowed not to use Title 42 to deport unaccompanied minors, immigration advocates say the policy is inhuman and ineffective and shouldn’t be used to refuse adults either.
Since taking office, Biden has done immigration a priority of the White House, reverse many of Trump’s sweeping policies. Biden administration changes include offer millions a path to citizenship and the revocation of the 2019 Migrant Protection Protocols, which forced people to return to Mexico pending court hearings.
Congressional Republicans largely rejected the president’s immigration plan, largely refusing to back him recent bills passed in the House that would provide relief to immigrants living and working in the U.S. And although Republicans have tried to blame Biden’s softer stance on immigration for the recent border surge, experts said the increase in migrants is more complicated, highlighting contributing factors such as violence in Central American countries, climate change and decades of failed immigration policies.
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