Saturday, August 22, 2020

Illegal U.S.-Mexico Border Crossings Are Rising Again, Driven by Single Adults

Photo: Christopher Brown/Zuma Press
New trend is a marked change from the waves of Central American families in recent years; repeat crossings become popular after Covid-related change
Illegal crossings are back on the rise at the southern U.S. border after having plummeted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, driven by a large increase in single adults from Mexico.
It is a marked shift from the past five years, during which a surge of asylum-seeking families and children from Central America accounted for most of the people entering the U.S. without legal authorization and at times overwhelmed the immigration system.
Border Patrol agents made roughly 38,000 arrests in July. It was the third consecutive month of steady increases since arrests plunged to roughly 16,000 in April, after the Trump administration announced on March 20 that nearly everyone caught entering the country without permission would be quickly turned back under a 1944 health law.
Single adults made up 89% of 90,621 people stopped by the Border Patrol between May and July of this year, compared with 30% of the nearly 300,000 caught in the same period last year.
National Deputy Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said much of the increase stems from the fact that his agency is quickly sending back single adults to Mexico without detaining them because of Covid-19 fears.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, single adults caught crossing the border illegally could face criminal prosecution and time in jail in the U.S. Now, only migrants with serious criminal histories or who are thought to pose a threat to national security or public safety face detention before deportation.
Photo: jose luis gonzalez/Reuters
Last month about 34% of people arrested were repeat offenders, the agency said. During the 2019 budget year, 7% of arrests involved returning migrants.
“They are sending back people very quickly, in hours,” said Armando Quintana, a 28-year-old mechanic from Michoacán state who arrived last week in Ciudad Juárez to try to cross the border into Texas. “The rumor is that chances of crossing undetected are higher, as you can try and try again without much consequences.”
Read the resr from the WSJ HERE.

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