Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Washington Post reports US border detentions hit record high in August

Detentions at the southern United States border hit a record high in August, according to preliminary United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by the Washington Post.

The surge in detentions breaks the downward trend seen in recent months due to measures by the Biden administration to severely limit how many migrants can apply for asylum. In August, CBP made a total of 177,000 arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border, a significant increase from the 132,652 reported in July and a nearly 80 percent increase from the 99,539 detained in June.

Families with children were the largest demographic to cross in August, with at least 91,000 migrants crossing as part of a family group. (Juan Ortega Solís/Cuartoscuro)

Despite the U.S. government’s attempts to prevent families with children from crossing the border illegally, this was the largest demographic to cross in August, with at least 91,000 migrants crossing as part of a family group. This is the first time migrant families have surpassed individual adults since Biden took office, and exceeds the previous monthly record of 84,486, set in 2019 under former president Donald Trump. 

In an attempt to distance itself from Trump’s heavily-criticized immigration policies, the Biden administration said in 2021 that it does not detain or deport pregnant or breastfeeding women or family members that had been separated. While President Biden promised to implement humane immigration policies when he entered the White House, he has recently ramped up deportations, repatriating more than 17,000 parents and children who crossed as a family group in August. 

Family groups pose a particular challenge for U.S. immigration enforcement, as most migrants fitting that description are permitted to wait within the U.S. while they await a ruling on their asylum claim, which can take years.

The already dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border was made even more perilous by the heat, with August reaching the highest temperatures seen in 2023. In the area near Arizona, over 1,000 migrants suffering from heat-related illnesses were rescued by authorities. 

“Unfortunately, human remains were also found,” CBP said. 

Record-breaking heat in August resulted in illness and death for some migrants making the already dangerous journey through Mexico’s northern border states. (Pedro Anza/Cuartoscuro)

Texas CBP officials reported that 2023 has been particularly deadly for migrants, with 134 reported deaths, a 188% increase compared to the previous fiscal year, which ran from October 2021 to September 2022.

“As with every year, the U.S. is seeing the ebbs and flows of migrants … fueled by seasonal trends and the efforts of smugglers to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable migrants and encourage migration,” Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Erin Heeter said in a statement. 

With reports from The Washington Post and El País

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