Migrant arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border reached another all-time high in May with more than 180,000, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported on Wednesday.
The 180,034 arrests in May represent an increase of about 1% over April’s 178,622, which in turn was 3% higher than March’s 173,348, two months that at the time already marked record highs.
Despite the overall rise, the arrival of unaccompanied minors at the border in May – 14,158 – fell again for the second consecutive month after the peak of 18,951 recorded in March. Of these, 10,765 were from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador.
Most of the undocumented arrests, over 121,000 people, were of adults migrating alone, up sharply from 111,000 the previous month, while more than 44,000 arrived in families.
CBP also announced that of the 180,034 migrants who were apprehended at the border, 112,302 -more than 62%- were immediately deported under the argument of the pandemic health crisis.
The Biden administration came in for harsh criticism because many minors who have crossed the border, especially at the beginning of the crisis, have overstayed their legal time in CBP-run detention centers, which are designed for adults, not children.
Biden tasked Kamala Harris in late March with curbing migration, yet the vice president has not been to the border in nearly three months. This week Harris traveled to Mexico and Guatemala where she urged migrants not to go to the U.S. because she said they would be returned, which is a change of discourse and strategy, after spending years criticizing Trump’s immigration policies.