In February of 2021 the US Border Patrol apprehended close to 100,000 migrants at the US-Mexico border. This is a huge surge in apprehensions, and the number of apprehensions has been climbing steadily over the past nine month. By comparison, the number of apprehensions in April 2020 has fallen to a low of under 17,000. Granted this was in part due to the global pandemic effectively forcing the closure of the southwestern border. Not to mention, that migration across the world came to a virtual standstill in spring of 2020.
Keep in mind that for every one illegal migrant apprehended there are estimated one or two illegal migrants who successfully cross the border without being apprehended. Also, some migrants might be apprehended more than once in a span of a year.
The Trump administration responded to high levels of illegal border activity with a series of restrictions to deter migrants from illegally traveling to the US to seek asylum. One of the policy changes included the “Remain in Mexico” program, which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their asylum claims are approved.
President Joe Biden’s reversal of this highly effective program led to a man-made crisis at the southern border: illegal immigrants expecting an amnesty in the near future are pouring through the border. Another very significant reversal of the immigration policy is the treatment of unaccompanied minors.
Under the Biden administration unaccompanied minors are allowed to stay in the United States indefinitely. Often times, unaccompanied minors have a family member present in the United States and they are reunited with their family members already residing in the United States.
Most recently, illegal immigrants of Mexican origin are accounting for a significantly large share of apprehensions at the border than in the past. Over forty percent of those apprehended at the southwestern border in February were people of Mexican origin, compared to less than 15 percent in May of 2019. Illegal migrants from Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador were responsible for over 45% of apprehensions in February 2021.
While children may legally only be detained in holding facilities for up to three days before being transferred to shelters, many of migrant children have endured staying in overcrowded shelters for over a week due to a lack of space at shelters.
The Biden administration announced this month that it would reverse its failed immigration policy and start requiring some Central American children to apply for admission to the U.S. from their home countries to combat the well anticipated crisis.
Author: Arsen Melkumian