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Nearly 30% of encounters at the US-Mexico border in March were repeat crossings

Overall, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 172,000 people attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in March, a 71% increase from February, according to administration officials who reported informed reporters of official agency totals. This figure includes repeat cruisers.

“The levels of flows pose a challenge for the border patrol, but the high level of recidivism means that we cannot view these flows as individual people. It is often the same people who return,” an official said. administration.

A public health order put in place under the Trump administration that allows border officials to quickly turn back migrants apprehended at the southern border of the United States has contributed to the increase in the number of repeated border crossings, as recently consequences for the person who tries to enter.

While the majority of encounters along the border involved single adults deported under a public health order, CBP apprehended a record number of unaccompanied minors, with 18,890 in March, nearly double that of from February.

Administration officials argued that the majority of those encountered at the border in March were expelled quickly. Single adults and families are subject to the pandemic policy, although some families have been admitted to the United States due to limited capacity in Mexico.

However, the growing number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the US-Mexico border continues to pose a challenge to authorities. “We are heading in the right direction, but we know we have a lot of work to do,” added the official. In recent weeks, the administration has announced at least 11 new sites to welcome children and transfer them out of overcrowded border patrol facilities, which are akin to prison conditions.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees a network of shelters for migrant children, has attempted to expedite the release of children from U.S. custody to a sponsor, such as a parent or relative, in the United States, said another administration official.

“We have really increased our exit rate and made sure to unify a child with the sponsors as soon as possible and reduce the length of our care in terms of the length of stay of children in facilities to meet this. need, ”the manager said. .

One of those steps is to deploy staff from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – an agency under the Department of Homeland Security – to work alongside case managers from the HHS Refugee Resettlement Office. .

As of Tuesday, there were 4,228 unaccompanied children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection, an agency generally unprepared to care for children for prolonged periods, and 16,045 children in the care of HHS, according to the latest government data.

The latest figures indicate some level of progress as the administration tries to reduce overcrowding at border patrol facilities and transfer children to HHS. But the encounters of children crossing the American-Mexican border alone are still numerous. On Tuesday, 747 unaccompanied children crossed the border.


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