NATIONAL NEWS

Illegal crossings on the US-Mexico border rose in July but were still down from last year

Aug 18, 2023, 1:49 PM

FILE - A Texas state trooper watches as young migrants walk along concertina wire on the banks of t...

FILE - A Texas state trooper watches as young migrants walk along concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande as they try to enter the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 6, 2023. U.S. authorities released numbers of illegal border crossings in July, the second month after pandemic-related asylum restrictions were replaced with new rules limiting access for people seeking humanitarian protections. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico soared 33% from June to July, according to U.S. government figures released Friday, reversing course after a plunge that followed the introduction of new asylum restrictions in May.

President Joe Biden’s administration insisted that its carrot-and-stick approach of expanding legal routes while imposing more punitive measures on those who enter illegally is working. It noted that illegal crossings were still down 27% from July 2022 and were well below the days that preceded the new immigrations rules.

The increase from June to July was driven by a larger presence of families traveling with children — nearly doubling to 60,161 arrests. Arizona became far busier despite crushing heat in its remote deserts, a shift that officials said resulted from false advertising by smugglers that it was easier to cross there and be released in the United States.

“We remain vigilant and continue to adjust our operational plans to maximize enforcement efforts against those individuals who do not use lawful pathways or processes, knowing that smugglers continue to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals,” said Troy Miller, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The Border Patrol stopped migrants 132,652 times in July along the southern border, up from 99,545 times in June but down from 181,834 times in July 2022. Crossings were widely expected to increase after pandemic-related asylum restrictions ended May 11 but they fell in June to the second-lowest of Biden’s presidency after new rules that make it extremely difficult to get asylum when crossing the border illegally.

The latest numbers also reflect a sharp increase in use of the government’s CBP One mobile app through which up to 1,450 migrants can day get appointments at land crossings with Mexico to seek asylum. During July, authorities admitted more than 50,000 migrants at official crossings, including more than 44,700 with CBP One appointments.

U.S. authorities also admitted large numbers of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who have financial sponsors and arrived at an airport. Since the launch of humanitarian parole for those nationalities over the last year, more than 72,000 Haitians , 63,000 Venezuelans, 41,000 Cubans and 34,000 Nicaraguans had been admitted as of the end of July. Texas and other Republican-led states are challenging the program for those nationalities, with a trial scheduled next week in Victoria, Texas.

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Illegal crossings on the US-Mexico border rose in July but were still down from last year