Border Apprehensions in April Reach New 21-Year Monthly Record

On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released data detailing their efforts at the Southwest border in April. The data show that border authorities apprehended 178,622 illegal aliens last month, with the majority being single adults. April’s total encounters represent a 3 percent increase from the 172,231 arrests made in March. Further, the previous month’s apprehensions are the highest monthly total for April since Fiscal Year (FY) 2001. The CBP data also show that the number of unaccompanied alien minors (UACs) taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border was 17,171 – a 9 percent decrease from the 18,960 UACs in March.

Of the total 178,622 aliens apprehended in April, 62.5 percent of them were expelled thanks to the administration’s continued use of Title 42. This measure allows border authorities to deny foreign nationals entry in order to safeguard public health from threats such as the coronavirus. 

While the Biden administration has taken a step in the right direction by resuming expulsions per Title 42, apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border continue to rise. The administration has yet to enact more policies that deter and prevent large numbers of illegal aliens from exacerbating this border crisis.

The countries of origin of most of the detained migrants were Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. As FAIR has advocated, one way to decrease migration from these countries would be reinstating the previous asylum agreements made with them. Requiring asylum seekers from those countries to wait in neighboring nations for their court dates makes more sense than allowing them to remain in the U.S., where they will almost certainly disappear. Another benefit of resuming these policies is mitigating “asylum shopping.” The purpose of political asylum is to protect people who are in imminent danger of persecution at the hands of their government, not to provide them with admission to their country of their choice.

The U.S. is seven months into FY 2021, and already the total number of apprehensions has reached 749,613. For comparison, in FY 2019, a similar border crisis resulted in 977,509 apprehensions for the total of that fiscal year. At this rate, the Southwest border is on track to surpass that figure, which should be concerning to every American. President Joe Biden must do more to end this crisis. Otherwise, our border will remain at risk of being overwhelmed by unchecked migration, which could have been prevented or significantly reduced from the outset.

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