For the second consecutive month, more than 200,000 migrants were encountered at the U.S.-Mexico southern border in August — as illegal crossings remained at decades-high levels despite the scorching summer heat, according to data released Wednesday by Customs and Border Protection.
Customs and Border Patrol officials encountered 208,887 people at the border last month, a slight decrease of 2.2 percent from the 213,534 apprehended in July. The August data was the first time since President Biden took office that saw the number of border apprehensions did not increase compared to the previous month. However, the August figure marks a 317 percent increase over 50,014 encounters from August 2020 total — and a 233 percent increase over August 2019, where there were 62,707 stops amid that year’s border crisis.
July’s reported figures marked the highest new 21-year monthly total of border crossers since Biden took office. Meanwhile, June saw the number of migrants intercepted at the border recorded 189,020 compared to May data, which saw 180,563 apprehended. April’s recording was reported at 178,799 migrants encounters, while March recorded its first highest of 173,799 — the first time this fiscal year since 2000 numbers reached over 170,000 apprehended recorded.
The Biden administration has seen numbers of migrants continue to soar drastically compared to previous years every month, reaching over one million in June. In the time Biden has taken office — between February and August saw a total reaching 1,245,183 million border crossers. The 1.2 million number is nearly three times the total recorded number of the Fiscal year 2020 saw — 458,088, while 2019 saw the total number reaching just 977,509.
CBP data showed that 156,641 apprehended at the border were “unique encounters,” indicating that the agency has not encountered them in the past. According to the data, 25 percent of the people encountered at the southern border were from people who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months. A total of 1,002,722 unique individuals have been encountered year-to-date during this calendar year, compared to 851,513 during the same time period in 2019. The average one-year re-encounter rate between 2014 and 2019 stood the same from last month at 14 percent.
Nearly half of the total encounters — 49 percent encountered at the border were recorded to be single adults — a number of 103,129 in August. The number of single adults apprehended decreased by 7 percent compared to July’s 110,443 recorded figure.
According to the CBP statistics, 93,414 encounters, more than 44 percent of the total were expelled under Title 42 — a public health order implemented due to the COVID pandemic that allows officials to expel migrants instead of holding them in detention facilities. 76,895 single adult encounters — 75 percent were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 26,234 processed under Title 8.
The month of July saw a major increase of unaccompanied children and family unit individuals encountered at the border. CBP logged a one percent decrease compared to July’s number of 18,958 unaccompanied children encounters. According to the border agency, 18,847 unaccompanied children were encountered at the border. The number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody saw an average of 1,435 per day, compared to July’s average of 1,353 per day.
The majority of unaccompanied migrant children are processed and placed in the care of Health and Human Services. Tuesday’s Department of Homeland Security daily report reported 13,348 unaccompanied migrant children in HHS care while 683 are in CBP custody. So far, September average data of the number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody is 858.
There was also a small increase of family units encountered at the border —recording 86,487 apprehended in August, a 4 percent increase compared to the 83,493 CBP entered for the month of July. A total of 415,185 family units have been encountered so far in 2021, below the recorded number of 505,102 apprehended during the same period in 2019.
Family unit expelled under Title 42 recorded a number of 16,240 in August — 19 percent of total apprehended with 70,247 processed under Title 8. Most are released into the United States and are allowed to make humanitarian claims under U.S. immigration law.
The agency notes that it is stepping up its measure “to meet the demands of high numbers of encounters at our southern border,” Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement.
Biden’s decision unraveling many of former President Trump’s border policies, including ending the construction of southern border wall and immediately suspending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy attributed to the record surge of illegals crossing the border, including thousands of daily unaccompanied minors in custody. However, the Supreme Court in late August declined the Biden administration’s request to block a lower court order ruling ordering the administration to reinstate the Trump era “Remain In Mexico.” In an unsigned order, the higher court stated the administration “failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious.”
Biden officials have begun returning some families to Central America using fast-track deportation flights while transporting the others on “expulsion flights” to southern Mexico. Once reaching Mexico, migrants are reported loaded onto buses by Mexican authorities and whisked back to Central America.