US officials: border crossings soar among Venezuelans

US officials: border crossings soar among Venezuelans

By ELLIOT SPAGAT – Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The number of Venezuelans arrested at the U.S. border with Mexico soared in August, while fewer migrants from Mexico and some Central American countries were apprehended, officials said Monday. responsible.

Venezuelans have overtaken Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second nationality after Mexicans among migrants crossing the US border illegally. US authorities arrested Venezuelans 25,349 times in August, up 43% from 17,652 times in July and four times the 6,301 arrests recorded in August 2021.

At the same time, it was the third month in a row that fewer immigrants came from Mexico and the Central American Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. These nationalities dominated the mix for decades.

Overall, US authorities arrested migrants 203,598 times in August, up 1.8% from 199,976 times in July, but down 4.7% from 213,593 times in August 2021.

Authorities arrested migrants 2.15 million times from October to August, the first time the metric exceeded 2 million during the government’s fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Border crossings have been fueled in part by people crossing repeatedly, as there are no legal consequences for being deported under a pandemic-era rule that denies the right to request asylum. Even so, the numbers are extraordinarily high.

Migration from Cuba and Nicaragua remained high, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Cubans were checked 19,057 times in August, compared to 20,096 times in July but down from 4,496 in August 2021. Nicaraguans were checked 11,742 times, down from 12,075 in July but down from 9,979 in August 2021.

It’s the latest sign of rapidly changing migration flows as US authorities grapple with unusually large influxes overall.

Although no single reason can be identified, it is extremely difficult for the United States to deport migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba under the pandemic rule known as Title 42, which officials Americans are invoking to deny people the ability to seek asylum on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. U.S. relations with the three countries are strained, making repatriation difficult.

“Failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are driving a new wave of migration in the Western Hemisphere, including the recent increase in encounters at the southwestern US border,” said Commissioner Chris Magnus. CBP, which oversees Border Patrol.

Mexico accepts migrants deported under Title 42 if they are from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, in addition to Mexico. While the pandemic rule theoretically applies to all nationalities, people from these four countries are the most affected.

The Biden administration is leaning on other countries in the Americas to absorb more people fleeing their homes.

About 6.8 million Venezuelans have left their homeland since an economic crisis set in in 2014 for the country of 28 million people. Most have gone to neighboring countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including more than 2.4 million to neighboring Colombia.

Venezuelan migration to the United States plummeted earlier this year after Mexico introduced restrictions on air travel, but has increased in recent months as more people cross Panama’s notoriously dangerous Darien Gap .

Nearly 7 out of 10 arrests of Venezuelans crossing illegally in August occurred in the Border Patrol sector of Del Rio, Texas, making it the busiest of the agency’s nine sectors on the Mexican border. Migrants have been stopped more than 52,000 times in the Del Rio area, many around the town of Eagle Pass, with El Paso, Texas, a distant second with about 29,000 stops.

The trend of more Venezuelans is reflected in daily headlines. About 50 migrants Florida Governor Ron DeSantis airlifted to the posh island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts were all Venezuelans, as were five of the six people US authorities found drowned in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass at the beginning of September. The sixth came from Nicaragua.

Title 42 encourages repeat attempts because there are no legal consequences for getting caught. In August, 157,921 migrants crossed at least once, including 55,333 from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua and 56,979 from Mexico or countries in the Northern Triangle.

This story has been clarified to reflect that US government figures show fewer Cubans and Nicaraguans were arrested in August than in July, but migration from these countries is still much higher than last year. .

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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