Posted on September 20, 2022

U.S. Arrests Along Mexico Border Top 2 Million a Year for First Time

Nick Miroff, Washington Post, September 19, 2022

U.S. authorities made more than 2 million immigration arrests along the southern border during the past 11 months, marking the first time annual enforcement statistics have exceeded that threshold, according to figures provided by senior Biden administration officials Monday.

In August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 203,598 migrants crossing from Mexico, the latest figures show, putting authorities on pace to tally more than 2.3 million arrests during the government’s 2022 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The total, which includes some people apprehended more than once, far exceeds last year’s record of more than 1.7 million arrests.

The historic migration wave this year has been driven by soaring numbers of border-crossers from outside Mexico and Central America, the two largest traditional sources of illegal entries. Migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba accounted for more than one-third of those taken into custody along the southern border last month, according to Customs and Border Protection, a 175 percent increase over August 2021.

Biden administration officials blamed the governments of those countries, whose strained relations with Washington severely limit the ability of authorities to send them deportees. {snip}


Biden administration officials also say the high border numbers are distorted by repeat crossing attempts by migrants who have been previously arrested. Last month, 22 percent of those taken into custody had a prior arrest in the previous 12 months, the latest figures show.

One factor Biden administration officials blame for the repeat crossings is the Title 42 emergency public health policy, implemented at the start of the pandemic, that allows U.S. agents to rapidly “expel” some migrants back to Mexico. The Biden administration’s attempt to phase out Title 42 was blocked in federal court last spring.

The latest figures show the percentage of border-crossers expelled under Title 42 has been falling and remains far lower under Biden than President Donald Trump. About 36 percent of the 203,598 migrant “encounters” resulted in an expulsion last month, down from 83 percent when Biden took office.