Arrests at the southern border will set new records this year, a trend driven in part by a massive increase in immigration from poor parts of Central and South America, as more people travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to the edge of the United States.
The Border Patrol arrested 1.998 million people at the US-Mexico border from October to August, already surpassing the 1.659 million people arrested in the entire 2021 fiscal year, the agency’s busiest year on record.
In most years, the vast majority of Border Patrol detainees were citizens of four countries fairly close to the US border — Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — but so far this year, those countries have made up less than 60% of all arrests, down from 78% in 2021, 89% in 2020 and more than 90% in the previous decade.
This means that an increasing proportion of the arrested immigrants hail from countries in the Caribbean, as well as south in the Americas and even India, Turkey, Romania and Russia.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus blamed “failed communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba” for causing the increase in the number of crossings, in a statement released Monday night with the August border arrest data.
So far this year, about 9.7% of those arrested at the southern border have been citizens of Cuba, much higher than the 2.3% recorded last year, making Cuba a more common source of arrested migrants than El Salvador or Honduras.
Citizens of Venezuela (7.7% of arrests this year, up from 2.9% last year), Nicaragua (7.3%, up from 3%) and Colombia (5.5%, up from 0.4%) are also increasingly common.
The proportion of arrested Haitians has fallen from 2.7% last year — when thousands of famous Haitian immigrants crossed the Rio Grande into a Texas city in a matter of weeks — to 1.4% this year, but it’s still well above pre-2021 levels.
181.160. That’s the total number of arrests made by border guards at the US-Mexico border last month, according to figures released Monday afternoon. It’s a slight decrease from August 2021, when border guards arrested 200,000 shy people.
Immigrants from outside the Western Hemisphere are relatively rare, but a few countries in Europe and Asia have recorded increases. Some 16,219 Indian nationals have been arrested at the border this year, up from 2,555 last year, and detainees have also jumped from Turkey (13729), Romania (5621) and Russia (4,503) over the past year.
Arrests at the southern border have remained high since early 2021, a trend that has depleted resources and turned immigration into a political hotspot. Mexico remains the most common home country, accounting for 34.2% of all arrests this year and 36.6% last year, but the sharp increase in immigration from faraway countries is surprising because the journey is long, arduous and often dangerous. The exact reasons for immigration vary from country to country. Many Haitian immigrants moved to South America after the brutal 2010 earthquake, but were pushed north by discrimination and poverty, while economic collapse led to a refugee crisis in Venezuela, and political repression and poor economic prospects fueled migration from Cuba and Nicaragua. . In smaller numbers, Indian citizens sometimes cited religious persecution as their motive for traveling to the American frontier, and some Romanians caught on the southern frontier are members of the long-persecuted Roma ethnic group. After being arrested at the border, many people will seek asylum on the grounds of persecution, which is a difficult and time-consuming process. Adult immigrants from Mexico and Central America are often returned to the other side of the border within hours of their arrest, under a pandemic-era policy known as Title 42, but deportations to Venezuela and Cuba are rare due to poor diplomatic relations with those. state governments.
The Biden administration has argued that poverty and violence in Central America have caused an increase in arrests at the border, but Republicans have blamed President Joe Biden’s effort to reverse Trump’s hard-line immigration policies. Republican governors in Texas and Arizona have bussed thousands of immigrants to New York and the capital in recent months, and last week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (right) flew dozens of Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a move critics derided as a political ploy. inhumane.
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Migration from faraway countries may remain high in the coming months. In August, just over 31,000 migrants crossed through the Darién Gap, a dangerous, roadless jungle separating Colombia and Panama, up from about 25,000 migrants in August 2021, according to the Panamanian government. More than two-thirds of the total for the past month were from Venezuela.