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April 8, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday it encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children at the southern border in March, the most ever recorded in a single month, highlighting challenges for the Biden administration as a surge in arrivals strains immigration facilities.


Authorities apprehended more than 172,000 total migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, a 71% increase from February.

Migrants from Mexico and Central America have increasingly sought to enter the U.S. over the past year as they fled violence, natural disasters and poverty worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Expectations for more lenient immigration enforcement have also emerged under President Joe Biden, who has pledged to reverse the hardline policies of the Trump administration.

The number of arrivals of unaccompanied migrant children at the border has grown particularly fast in recent weeks, doubling to 18,890 in March from 9,457 in February. The Biden administration has maintained border expulsions under a public health order Trump put in place at the start of the pandemic, known as Title 42, but unaccompanied migrant children are exempt. The Biden administration has struggled to house the influx of unaccompanied migrant children, leading officials to lift Covid-19 capacity limits at shelters and to open up a number of emergency facilities. 

Sensing a political opening, congressional Republicans have lambasted Biden for his immigration policies and labeled developments at the border a “crisis.” “President Biden said the surge was seasonal,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a tweet Thursday. “But the #'s don’t lie … The DHS Secretary is heading to the border today but is denying press access. Americans deserve transparency on the crisis the Admin created.”

Source: Forbes
Image Source: Getty Images