U.S. Border Sees Record-High Migrant Family Crossings in August

In August, the U.S. witnessed an unprecedented surge of migrant family crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, with the Border Patrol detaining over 91,000 migrants—a figure that overshadows the prior record of 84,486 set in May 2019.

This influx has brought challenges to the Biden administration’s immigration efforts and could potentially bring immigration back into focus for the 2024 presidential race. The Washington Post reports.

Family units have persistently been a concern for U.S. immigration enforcement.

Historical data reveals that such migrants are often released and permitted to live and work in the U.S. while awaiting the results of their humanitarian claims.

Given the backlog in U.S. immigration courts, a resolution can take years, and more often than not, it doesn’t culminate in deportation.

Recent data underscores the intensifying crisis.

Border apprehensions have surged by over 30% for two successive months, even after witnessing a dip during May and June.

In raw numbers, the Border Patrol made 177,000 arrests in August, a steep increase from 132,652 in July and 99,539 in June.

Erin Heeter, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, commented on the situation: “But as with every year, the U.S. is seeing ebbs and flows of migrants arriving fueled by seasonal trends and the efforts of smugglers to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable migrants and encourage migration.”

August’s data further revealed that family groups dominated the demographics of border crossings for the first time since President Biden assumed office.

The recent data from Customs and Border Protection shows that 50,000 migrants were processed at U.S. border crossings in August alone.

The total encounters by CBP at the southern border, whether at legal crossings or other areas, stood at around 230,000—the highest for any month this year.

Migrants from nations like Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, and even from Asia and Africa have significantly contributed to these rising numbers.

Processing such a diverse group presents a multifaceted challenge, especially when dealing with families and children under harsh conditions.

The Biden administration has made some apparent attempts to control the numbers.

One method has been the development of a mobile app, allowing up to 1,450 migrants per day to schedule an appointment for legal entry.

Additionally, another Biden program offers around 30,000 applicants from countries like Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela the chance to live and work in the U.S. for two years, provided they have a financial backer and pass background checks.

Despite these efforts, August’s numbers reveal that over half a million “family member units” have been recorded at the southern border in the current fiscal year, marking an all-time high.

To address the overwhelming numbers, the Biden administration purportedly ramped up deportation efforts, especially for recent border crossers.

Heeter stated that since May, more than 17,000 parents and children who crossed in family units have been sent back.