In March, officials at the border encountered around 172,000 migrants. It is a 71% increase from the month before. While it indicates the seriousness of the crisis at the border, officials of the Biden administration continue to pin the blame on the Trump administration.
The majority of the migrants at the border were single adults, while a total of 18,890 were unaccompanied children. This is a 100% increase compared to the number that border agents encountered in the month prior. In February, Border agents encountered 100,441 migrants overall.
In March, CBP encountered over 172,000 persons attempting entry along the SW border. This FY, CBP has already had over 569,800 encounters.
— CBP (@CBP) April 8, 2021
Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection said that they have experienced more encounters and arrest. He also reiterated their commitment to keep the border secure, take care of those in their custody, and keep America safe.
The current administration continues to tackle the spike in migrant numbers in recent months. This increase has escalated into a crisis recently, but officials only describe it as a “challenge.”
Border Officials Encounter 172,000 Migrants
Single adults and family units can be turned away through Title 42 public health protections. However, the administration choose not to apply this to the unaccompanied minors at the border. On top of this, Mexico has continued to refuse to take back units with kids under 7 years old. This resulted in the re-introduction of “catch and release” policies, in which some of them are released into the interior.
In March, authorities have turned away 103,900 people through Title 42, which make up 60% of the encounters.
The GOP accused the administration of making the crisis worse by rescinding Trump-era policies, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols, as well as halting the border wall construction and narrowing down the enforcement priorities.
Instead, the Biden administration continues to pin the blame on Trump.
Officials say the lack of preparedness from health and Human Services helped cause the crisis. They noted that the Trump administration didn’t ask for more beds until Jan. 15. They also blamed the previous administration for stopping the funding for the Northern Triangle and for stopping asylum problems.
One official stated that the current administration managed to make “significant progress” since its start on Jan. 21. However, the same official warned that no one should expect this problem to be solved overnight and urged Congress to act and fix the immigration system itself.
Biden Says Trump Policies Caused Border Crisis
These statements echo Biden’s criticisms of Trump.
In a press conference last month, Biden said Trump “dismantled all the elements” that existed to deal with a long-time problem. The president also stated that Trump “shut down” the number of available bed. He also said Trump didn’t fund HHS to get those in holding facilities out.
To Republicans, those claims fall flat. They noted the low number of immigrants last year, as well as the policies that were put in place to deal with migrant surges following the 2019 crisis.
Last month’s numbers went over the 2019 crisis’ highest monthly total, in which border agents encountered around 142,000 in May of that year. There is also a high possibility that the numbers will continuously climb in Spring and early Summer.