US: Migrant detentions reach record numbers at border with Mexico
Washington – The United States says more than 1.7 million migrants were detained along its border with Mexico in the past 12 months – the highest number ever recorded.
More than one million of them were expelled to Mexico or their native countries, according to data from US Customs and Border Protection.
Agents apprehended people from more than 160 countries.
President Joe Biden’s popularity in opinion polls has been sinking, partly as a result of his immigration policy.
Just 35 per cent of Americans said they approved of his handling of the issue, in an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey earlier this month.
Biden promised a more humane immigration policy than his predecessor Donald Trump, but the US-Mexico border has been engulfed in crisis for much of the Democrat’s nine-month-old presidency.
The detention numbers for the 2021 fiscal year, which ended in September, are the highest since 2000. That year, more than 1.6 million migrants were held at the US-Mexico border. But the number has not reached 1.7 million since US authorities first began tracking such entries in the 1960s.
“The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts,” the US Customs and Border Protection said.
Those trying to enter the US illegally were mainly from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Of all those detained, the biggest category were adults travelling without children – more than 1.1 million (or 64%).
At the same time, the US authorities said they encountered more than 145 000 unaccompanied children – a record number.
Almost 11 000 of those children remained in government custody on Friday.