(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — It was a record number that hasn’t been seen in nearly two decades, as immigration authorities say they halted more than 172,000 migrants at the U.S.-Mexican border in March 2021.
That is the highest number of migrants since the early 2000’s, says U.S. Border Patrol.
The majority of the migrants were stopped between American ports of entry, while 4,000 were apprehended by port officials.
Sixty percent of those apprehended — or 103,000 people — were quickly expelled under the Trump administration’s health regulation known as Title 42.
Border Patrol agents also say they are apprehending more families, but, have noticed “self separation” from older families by sending their children alone across the border.
On the growing crisis of unaccompanied minors at the border, the number of children taken into custody has doubled since February, with officials taking in about 18,890 minors last month.
Those numbers are rising as of early April and, as of Thursday, Customs and Border Protection authorities say there are over 20,200 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody.
As for why the agencies say they are strained under the growing number of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S., one official told ABC News that the fault can be traced back to former President Donald Trump’s policies.
“We are continuing to dig out of a hole that was left by the previous administration,” the official said, citing the lack of preparedness given to the Department of Health and Human Service.
Adds the official, “Nobody should have the expectation this is going to be solved overnight after four years of sort of potentially undermining the system.”
In the meantime, officials have asked Congress for additional support in cracking down on criminals and smugglers that are trafficking individuals. The agency is requesting better technology at the border, improved infrastructure, more asylum officers and more immigration judges to expedite holding times.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.