WASHINGTON — For the first time, the number of arrests of illegal immigrants along the southwest border exceeded 2 million in one year, according to newly released government data, continuing a historic pace of illegal immigrants coming into the country.
The number of border arrests increased slightly from July to August, totaling more than 2.1 million in the first 11 months of the 2022 fiscal year, which ends on September 30.
In an unusual move, Biden administration officials gave some reporters a briefing Monday ahead of the routine monthly release of data from Customs and Border Protection. Officials noted that the number of removals over the past year – more than 1.3 million – was more than any previous year.
The administration has tried in recent months to stay away from immigration issues as the midterm elections approach and Republicans campaign on the message that borders are unsafe. last weekTwo Republican conservatives have paid to move dozens of immigrants released from government custody to Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., in an escalation of efforts to show Democratic regions within the country what they are on the southwest border.
Migrants sent to those locations crossed the southwestern border without documents and underwent security checks by border officials before being released back into the country temporarily to face deportation measures. They are part of a global movement of displaced people fleeing their homes. In June, the United Nations said one in 78 people worldwide was considered displaced. Venezuelans are estimated to be The second largest group of IDPs around the world. (Syrian is the largest).
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In August, the number of immigrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela caught crossing the southwestern border was roughly equal to the number of immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, representing a stark shift in the nationalities of people coming to the United States. countries compared to previous years. The number of illegal immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is down 43 percent from August 2021; The number of Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans rose by 175%.
“Failed communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are driving a new wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the recent increase in confrontations on the southwestern United States border,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement. on Monday.
Because the United States lacks diplomatic relations with those three countries, officials cannot repatriate immigrants as they do with people from other countries.
Many of the immigrants who crossed the southwestern border are seeking asylum, a legal right that was significantly restricted by several policies during the Trump administration when there was a surge in immigration. One such policy is the use of a public health rule, known as Title 42, which the Biden administration attempted to end in late May. Louisiana and other predominantly Republican states sued to prevent the administration from bringing the matter.
The journey to the United States is arduous, dangerous and expensive, with immigrants often paying smugglers to cross. The Biden administration has deployed more than 1,300 officers and law enforcement officers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras in Efforts to combat smuggling. One administration official who spoke in the background on Monday said officials believed this prevented 57,000 immigrants a month from reaching the southwest border. Mr. Biden announced the anti-smuggling campaign in June.
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