Arrests at the southern border hit record levels over the last year, with most migrants hailing from Mexico or Central America, but thousands of people who tried to cross into the United States traveled from South America, Eastern Europe and as far away as India.
Border Patrol apprehended about 1.66 million people at the U.S.-Mexico border in the 2021 fiscal year, which ended in September, making it the busiest year on record.
More than 608,000 arrestees — or 36.6% of last year’s total — were Mexican citizens, and over 40% were from Honduras (308,931 arrests), Guatemala (279,033) and El Salvador (95,930), a trio of countries south of Mexico called the “Northern Triangle.”
Hundreds of thousands of people hailing from South America were caught at the border, including nearly 57,000 from Brazil (up from just 7,000 in 2020 and 18,000 in 2019), more than 95,000 from Ecuador (a sevenfold increase over the previous two years) and almost 48,000 from Venezuela (well above 1,000 in 2020 and 2,000 in 2019).
Attempted border-crossings by Haitian citizens exceeded 45,000, which is a tenfold jump from the previous year, including more than 15,000 Haitian migrants who crossed in Texas and stayed in a makeshift camp under a bridge last month.
Some 38,000 Cuban migrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021, almost four times the totals for 2020 and 2019.
A smaller contingent of migrants traveled from the other side of the world: Some 4,000 were from Romania, almost 1,400 were from Turkey and 2,600 were from India — though the number of migrants apprehended from India actually decreased from more than 7,000 in 2019 and 2018.
The number of border arrests doesn’t necessarily match up with the actual number of migrants trying to cross. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. began expelling many border-crossers within hours of getting arrested, causing repeat offenses to increase dramatically. Plus, the Department of Homeland Security estimates that its apprehension rate has soared from under 40% in the early 2000s to nearly 70% in 2018. And 2020’s border figures were unusually low, possibly because of the pandemic, making year-to-year comparisons tricky.
The number of attempted border-crossers who hail from countries other than Mexico has increased dramatically in the last 20 years. Their reasons for traveling thousands of miles to the U.S.-Mexico border vary. Many Central Americans have sought asylum from endemic gang violence, Venezuela’s economic turmoil has fueled a refugee crisis, Covid-related economic upheaval has reportedly pushed some people to migrate, and some Romanian migrants are members of Europe’s long-persecuted Roma ethnic group, PRI’s em data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.pri.org/stories/2021-06-21/roma-people-are-fleeing-romania-us-mexico-border-escape-persecution"">>The World reported. In many cases, people left their home country years before arriving at the border: For example, some Haitian migrants moved to South America after the country’s 2010 earthquake.
For many migrants hailing from South America and beyond, their journey to the border involved traversing the Darien Gap, a dangerous roadless jungle between Panama and Colombia. More than 90,000 people entered Panama via the Darien Gap from January to September, according to government statistics, including hundreds of people from Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal and other further-away countries — though their final destination isn’t clear.
Arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border began surging in early 2021. The sudden jump in migration stretched immigration officials’ resources and initially forced thousands of unaccompanied minors to sleep in crowded makeshift Border Patrol tents. The Biden administration has warned migrants that it’s still rapidly expelling many people who are caught crossing the southern border illegally — especially single adults. Officials have also promised to focus on the root causes of Central American migration, including poverty and violence. Still, many Republicans have tied the surge in migration to President Joe Biden’s decision to ease some of the Trump administration’s strict immigration rules, especially for longstanding undocumented immigrants who don’t pose a public safety threat.
What To Watch For
The Biden administration says it plans to restart a Trump-era policy in which many asylum-seekers are required to wait for their day in immigration court on the Mexico side of the border. Biden has sharply criticized the program — often called “Remain in Mexico” — on humanitarian grounds, but a judge ordered the government to reinstate it in August.
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2021/10/22/migrants-from-india-romania-venezuela-and-other-far-flung-places-contribute-to-record-breaking-arrests-at-us-mexico-border/1276