Things are only getting worse.
Arrests related to the unlawful crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border experienced a notable 33% increase from June to July, as indicated by the latest data released by the U.S. government on Friday. This shift in trend follows a significant decrease subsequent to the implementation of new asylum restrictions in May.
According to Newsmax, the current administration under President Joe Biden maintains that its strategy, which involves both enhancing legal entry options and imposing stricter penalties for illegal entry, is effectively yielding results. It’s noteworthy that the instances of unauthorized crossings were still down by 27% compared to July of the previous year, and remained considerably lower than the period before the introduction of the new immigration regulations.
The surge in arrests between June and July was primarily influenced by an elevated number of family units traveling with children, which nearly doubled and amounted to 60,161 apprehensions.
The surge in border activity shifted toward extremely remote and uncomfortably hot regions in Arizona. Officials attributed this change to misleading information spread by smugglers, who falsely claimed that these areas presented easier crossing opportunities, coupled with the assurance of release within the United States. The Tucson area emerged as the busiest among nine distinct border sectors, recording 39,215 arrests in July. This marked a substantial 60% increase from June and more than twice the figures from July 2022.
John Modlin, Chief of the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, reported several instances of large migrant groups being discovered in early August, including one group of 533 individuals from 17 different countries near the remote town of Lukeville.
Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, highlighted the continued vigilance and operational adjustments to counter individuals who evade legal pathways or procedures, given the ongoing exploitation of misinformation by smugglers to target vulnerable individuals.
In July, the Border Patrol encountered migrants 132,652 times along the southern border. While this was an increase from 99,545 encounters in June, it remained lower than the 181,834 encounters reported in July 2022. Although expectations predicted a rise in crossings following the cessation of pandemic-related asylum restrictions on May 11, the numbers actually dipped in June to the second-lowest count during Biden’s presidency. This decrease coincided with the implementation of stringent rules making it exceptionally difficult to seek asylum after entering the country illegally.
The latest data also revealed a significant uptick in the utilization of the CBP One mobile app, facilitating appointments for up to 1,450 migrants at land border crossings with Mexico to initiate asylum requests. In July, authorities permitted the entry of over 50,000 migrants via official crossings, with more than 44,700 individuals using the CBP One app for appointments.
Notably, the U.S. also granted entry to a substantial number of individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela who possessed financial sponsors and arrived at airports. Since the introduction of humanitarian parole for these nationalities over the past year, a considerable count of 72,000 Haitians, 63,000 Venezuelans, 41,000 Cubans, and 34,000 Nicaraguans had undergone vetting and received authorization to enter the U.S. by the end of July. This program has faced opposition from Republican-led states, primarily Texas, with a trial scheduled in Victoria, Texas for the coming week.
The United States continues to grapple with the considerable migration pressure from South America, which exhibited slight declines in May and June. Through July of the present year, an estimated 252,000 migrants crossed the challenging Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, surpassing the previous record set in 2022.
Venezuelans constituted the majority of migrants navigating the Darien Gap, accounting for about 55% of crossings during the first seven months of the year. Other notable nationalities included Ecuadorians and Haitians, with a smaller presence from Asia and Africa. Certain non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies have highlighted the lack of awareness regarding U.S. policy changes among these migrants, often resulting from misinformation disseminated by migrant smugglers.
The government of Panama recently expressed dissatisfaction with the increasing numbers and criticized neighboring Colombia for not taking more significant measures to address the situation.