The number of immigrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border while attempting to enter the country has reached the highest level in 15 years for the monthly total.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Thursday that in March more than 172,000 migrants were encountered while trying to enter along the southern border. It is “a 71 percent increase over February 2021,” per the press release.
“CBP has experienced an increase in encounters and arrests. This is not new. Encounters have continued to increase since April 2020, and our past experiences have helped us be better prepared for the challenges we face this year,” CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy Miller said.
Miller also said, “We are committed to balancing the need to maintain border security, care for those in our custody, and keep the American people and our workforce safe.”
Check out the chart below:
In March, CBP encountered over 172,000 persons attempting entry along the SW border. This FY, CBP has already had over 569,800 encounters.— CBP (@CBP) April 8, 2021
Press release: https://t.co/s6pObvhmjQ
Enforcement stats: https://t.co/AcdShCXjDS
SW Land Border Encounters: https://t.co/i3vbVkLjpB pic.twitter.com/v3doyPecnX
Reasons for the increase in encounters at the southern border include “violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America,” CBP states.
The majority of those who are trying to cross at the southern border are single adults. In March, 103,900 individuals were expelled under Title 42 authority — representing 60% of the total encounters in March.
There was also a 100% increase of unaccompanied migrant children — 18,890 — seeking to come across the border, compared to February.
“Although less than 11 percent of encounters in March were unaccompanied children, they make up the largest demographic group of individuals in custody at CBP facilities,” the CBP notes.
Regarding drug seizures, they were down 14% nationwide in March from February.
In the fiscal year 2019, there were 977,509 total land border encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border, compared to 458,088 in the fiscal year 2020 and 569,879 in the fiscal year 2021 to date.