United States Border Patrol

While Biden Takes Victory Lap On Immigration, US-Bound Migrants Pour Into Mexico

The United States Border Patrol conducting traffic operations at the Interstate 10 Immigration Checkpoint interdicted a tractor-trailer smuggling scheme.
By Jake Smith, DCNF, CBP Photo

The Biden administration has touted a lower rate of migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border during June, but migrant apprehensions at Mexico’s own southern border rose to a record high the same month, according to multiple reports.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported a lower number of migrant apprehensions at the southern border last month, down from over 170,000 in May to under 100,000 in June. Meanwhile, the rate of apprehensions at Mexico’s southern border rose sharply from approximately 40,000 to 58,000 during the same time period, breaking previous monthly records, according to the Washington Office On Latin America (WOLA).

“Since the CDC’s Title 42 public health Order lifted and the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive plan to manage the border went into full effect on May 12, DHS has continued to experience a significant reduction in encounters at the Southwest Border,” the DHS wrote in a June 6 press release.

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“Things may be a bit quieter on the U.S. side of the border, but Mexico in June broke — by more than 10% — its record for most migrant apprehensions in a single month,” Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight for WOLA, said on Twitter Wednesday.

These migrants came from differing countries of origin and would have traveled through Mexico to get to the U.S., according to studies conducted by WOLA and Project HOPE organization. As of June 2023, Mexico remained the largest source of migrant apprehensions at the U.S. southern border, but well over 50% of total migrant apprehensions came from other countries, including Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to WOLA.

“The Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala – has been a major source of migration through Mexico to reach the U.S. in recent years,” Project HOPE’s 2023 Migrant Needs Assessment read. “Organizations have called for assistance to respond to the situation in Mexico as the increasing number of people on the move overwhelm southern and northern border areas.”

In an effort to crack down on illegal immigration, Mexico closed migration offices on its shared border with Guatemala that previously granted temporary permits allowing people to travel north, the New York Times reported earlier in July. Mexico also issued a mandate to stop providing documentation that allowed migrants to stay within its borders.

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Neighboring countries to the south have taken similar actions to discourage illegal immigration, according to Blas Nunez Neto, assistant secretary for immigration and border policy at DHS.

“You’re seeing Mexico taking actions on its southern border to disincentivize migrants from entering Mexico. You’re seeing Guatemala do the same. Colombia and Panama are currently doing an operation… that is unprecedented in its scope,” Nunez Neto told CBS earlier in June.

Additionally, while the Department of Homeland Security reported that the number of migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border dropped, the number of illegal migrants being released into the country with court dates has risen. DHS has also expanded the utilization of its CBP One app, which allows migrants to schedule appointments to enter the U.S. through ports of entry, which some leading Republicans have called a “shell game.”

These factors likely all play a role in DHS’s lower reported number of migrants apprehended at the U.S. southern border, according to Isacson.

“It’s a combination, I think. Mexico is absolutely blocking more migrants, [and] it’s also issuing fewer documents that they can use to transit the country,” Isacson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Asylum seekers increasingly appear to be choosing the CBP One route, instead of crossing the river or climbing the wall. That means increased willingness to wait for weeks and months in Mexico for their turn to approach ports of entry.”

DHS data from the last week of June indicated the number of migrant apprehensions was starting to rise again, the NYT reported. Over 500,000 migrants have come to the U.S. since 2021, using the Biden administration’s expansion of entry programs such as parole programs and the CBP One app.

The White House and DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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