- BBC News World
More than two million immigrants were arrested at the US-Mexico border last year, a record number that is a political concern for the Biden administration.
According to new numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the 2.15 million case concern figure is a 24% increase from the previous year.
Statistics show that the number of immigrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba has increased significantly, while the number of immigrants from Mexico and the northern triangle of Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has decreased.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said “failed communist regimes” were “leading a new wave of migration” across the border.
Experts point to other reasons that may explain the increase, including a large number of frequent crossings and persistent economic problems related to the epidemic in Latin America.
The growing number of immigrants at the border is a contentious issue in US politics, ahead of the midterm elections in November.
The opposition has criticized President Joe Biden and other Democrats for the increase, at the same time there has been growing tension between the White House and some Republican state governments, over the way immigrants are bused or plane to Democratic-run areas. , such as New York and Washington, D.C
Why was a record reached?
The number of immigrants arriving at the border increased dramatically after Biden took office in late January 2021.
Experts point to a number of reasons for the increase, including environmental disasters and economic problems in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. In other cases – such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela – economic problems have been exacerbated by political repression.
“There is a level of desperation we haven’t seen before,” said Adam Isaacson, an immigration and border expert in the Washington office for Latin America. “And there are people who come from countries that have not sent migrants in large numbers in the past, largely due to a lack of economic opportunities. Smugglers are taking advantage of that.”
Many immigrants are now seeking asylum, a process severely restricted by the Donald Trump administration.
Where do the immigrants come from?
Immigrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America still make up the bulk of the total, with Mexicans alone making up about 744,000 fears over the past year.
However, August numbers from CBP show changes in immigration patterns. The number of Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans decreased by 43% compared to August 2021. On the other hand, the numbers of Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans increased by 175% in the same period.
These three nationalities together represent about 494,000 migrant arrests this year.
Ariel Ruiz, a policy expert at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., noted that the links between these countries also contribute to the increases.
Cuba, for example, lost much of the aid it received from Venezuela before the pandemic, adding to its economic hardship.
While Nicaragua’s decision last year to abolish visa requirements for Cubans means they now have a springboard to begin their journey from Central America to the United States.
The lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and these countries means that they cannot be sent back to their countries of origin.
For his part, Biden said returning migrants to Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua “does not make sense” and that he is working with Mexico and other countries to “stop the flow.”
Trump policy that still applies
Since taking office, Biden has endorsed a controversial policy dating back to the Trump era that allows officials to automatically expel illegal immigrants seeking to enter the country, without enforcing the laws and protections immigrants normally enjoy.
Politics, known as Address 42It was originally intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in immigration detention facilities.
On Monday, CBP said that “the large number of clearances during the pandemic has contributed to an increase in the number of migrants making multiple attempts to cross the border.”
Isakson said the policy leads to “statistical distortions”.
The rising numbers of immigrants are a growing political problem for the Biden administration, especially with the midterm elections approaching.
Three Republican-controlled states — Texas, Arizona and Florida — have announced initiatives to move immigrants to Democratic-led states, sometimes leaving them in notable places like Massachusetts’ posh Martha’s Vineyard, or near the residence of a deputy. President Kamala Harris in Washington.
Officials in these countries have argued that this tactic is intended to mitigate the impact of migration flows on local communities.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, who in early September began bringing immigrants into Massachusetts, said that “while even a small fraction of what those border towns encounter every day reach their front door, they [los demócratas] They have sudden madness.
The issue of migrants at the border is likely to have an impact on the polls. A recent poll by US public radio NPR, for example, showed that immigration was a major electoral issue, after inflation, for 20% of Republican voters, compared to 1% of Democrats.
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