Illegal border crossings have exploded by 674 per cent in a year, with 180,034 recorded in May – the fourth consecutive monthly rise.
Newly-released figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show the number of migrants rocketed by more than six-fold from the 23,237 who crossed from Mexico into the United States in May 2020.
Last year’s number was far lower than usual because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but this year’s figures still spell worrying news for Joe Biden, with 2021 on-track to record the highest number of illegal border crossings since 2006.
Illegal border crossings have increased for the fourth month in a row growing to 180,034 in May, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
That represented a slight increase over the approximately 178,000 migrants encountered in April and the 172,000 encountered in March at the southwest border.
In February, roughly 100,000 migrants illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into the United States.
Central American migrants sit on the ground while waiting to be transported by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this week to discuss the root causes of migration with the countries’ leaders
Chanel, 7, and her sister Adriana, 10, both unaccompanied minors traveling alone from Honduras, sits among other asylum-seeking children as they await to be transported to a U.S. border patrol processing facility
Single adults still represented the majority of border-crossers, data from the U.S. Border Patrol showed.
In May there was a decrease in the number of unaccompanied minors, from roughly 16,910 to 13,906, Border Patrol found.
CBP also said that a majority of those who crossed the border were already expelled due to Title 42, which allows the U.S. government to quickly remove people using the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 180,034 crossers, 112,302 had already been expelled.
CBP also pointed out, according to Fox News, that Title 42 is leading people to try to cross the border more than once, which could also factor into the high numbers.
Axios reported Tuesday that premlinary CBP data from the fiscal year 2021 showed that illegal crossings have been the most since 2006 – with four months still to go.
Additionally on Tuesday the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 16,200 children were still in custody, which is 50 per cent higher than the levels in March.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra appeared before the Ways and Means Committee to face questions on the border crisis.
President Joe Biden has promised to reunite families separated during the Trump administration and to expedite processing unaccompanied minors who arrived at the border in the last few months.
However, a new report from Biden’s task force on reuniting families indicates that 2,127 children have ‘not yet been reunified’ with their parents.
The poor showing in progress at the border comes on the heels of Vice President Kamala Harris trip to Guatemala and Mexico – where she faced backlash for laughing her way through serious topics and handing out cookies on the Air Force Two flight with her face-less likeness printed on them.
The task force progress report submitted to the president last week shows only seven children have successfully been reunited since Biden took office.
In a 22-page task force progress report, which was released Tuesday during Harris’ trip, was submitted to President Joe Biden last week and shows that 2,127 children are still awaiting their reunions.
It also states, however, that 29 more families ‘will be reunited in the coming weeks.’ The provision will allow the families to enter the U.S. under humanitarian parole, which lasts 36 months and can be renewed.
The dismal showings in reunification is being blamed on the Trump administration’s failure to keep accurate and organized data on families and children when they were separated at the border.
As thousands of illegal crossers continue to be apprehended by Border Patrol, new Health and Human Services numbers show more than 16,200 minors remain in the agencies custody, double that of March
A task force aimed at reuniting families sent a progress report to Biden last week, which was released publicly Tuesday, that shows 2,127 children separated by families under Trump have still not been united. Biden left Wednesday for his first international trip in office to Europe
‘No comprehensive interagency system was in place to separate parents and their migrant children,’ a senior Department of Homeland Security official said in a call with reporters.
Becerra was summoned to testify about Bien’s budget proposal, which includes a request to Congress to boost spending on care for unaccompanied migrant children to $3.3 billion.
Harris’ trip south of the border Monday and Tuesday was focused on addressing ‘root causes’ of migration and the vice president still refused to visit the border, dismissing questions surrounding the crisis.
Even the Biden administration appears to be baffled, however, by Harris’ trip to address the border crisis and her icy treatment of reporters who questioned why she hasn’t been to the U.S.-Mexico border.
White House insiders were ‘perplexed’ by her answers to her questions over whether she would visit the Rio Grande and ‘hoped her first foreign trip would be a success’, CNN reported.
White House also fear that any progress she made during her meetings with the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents may be undone by her mixed messages and terse encounters with reporters.
Harris’ trip was meant to focus on the ‘root causes’ of migration that have led to families and unaccompanied children heading north to the border.
But she made a series of seemingly conflicting statements about her decision not to visit the border and enraged progressives by telling migrants: ‘Do not come’.
By the end of her trip, at a press conference in Mexico City with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Harris insisted the trip was a success.
‘Listen, I’ve been to the border before and I’ll go again,’ she said.
She also hinted that a border trip would be ‘short-sighted’, but did promise to visit without giving a date.
The new numbers come on the heels of Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Guatemala and Mexico. Administration officials are ‘perplexed’ at some of the conflicting statements made on her first foreign trip in office
CNN reported that officials were concerned within the administration that whatever progress Harris had made on the leader-to-leader level might have been undermined by her conflicting answers and PR missteps.
‘It’s left some of the administration officials perplexed, and the vice president’s team frustrated,’ the network Wednesday.
‘There was hope the trip would be a success, and in the end, they feel it may have been overshadowed by some of her answers to these questions,’ the network reported.
She also snapped at reporters a few times when questioned about a border visit. Among those asking about it was a CNN correspondent. Fox News correspondents have been hounding the White House on the topic for weeks, so it was unlikely to have surprised her team.
At the same news conference where she said she would go to the border, Harris also shrugged off the idea.
Harris visited Mexico and Guatemala in her first trip outside the country as VP
She said at a Mexico City press conference she would visit the border, after earlier commenting about ‘grand gestures’
‘I think it’s short-sighted, for any of us who are in the business of problem solving to suggest we’re only going to respond to the reaction as opposed to addressing the cause,’ she said.
It echoed her earlier comments in Guatemala, where she characterized such a visit as being for show.
‘I came here to be here on the ground, to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible and has real results,’ she said.
‘And I will continue to be focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures.’
There is an element of showmanship in any foreign trip – and Harris was not shy about calling her own first foreign foray a victory.
‘Do I declare this trip a success? Yes I do,’ she said.
She also took heat on the trip when she shot back at NBC anchor Lester Holt when he asked her about visiting the border.
‘At some point, you know, we are going to the border,’ she said. ‘We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border,’ she repeated.
‘You haven’t been to the border,’ Holt pushed back.
‘And I haven’t been to Europe,’ Harris snapped, then quickly turned it into her signature laugh.
‘And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making,’ she said to Holt ‘I’m not discounting the importance of the border.’
She also kicked off her trip with a blunt message to migrants: ‘Do not come,’ an admonition that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York called ‘disappointing.’
In another odd moment, a case of mistaken identity at Harris’ press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday allowed a woman wrongly identified as a Univision reporter with a similar name to ask the vice president a fawning question.
The woman, introduced by Harris’ press secretary Symone Sanders as ‘Maria Fernanda from Univision’, was one of only five people called on for questions at the Mexico City event.
She asked a soft question, which Harris called ‘great.’ Late on Tuesday, Fox News revealed that the woman was in fact a San Francisco Bay-area entrepreneur named Maria Fernanda Reyes. Univision put out a statement saying the woman was not their reporter.