(CNN) — US authorities arrested and found more than 100,000 migrants on the US-Mexico border over the past four weeks, a period that ended on March 3, according to data obtained by CNN. The figures mark the highest levels for the same period in five years.
The number of migrants detained at the southern border has increased in recent weeks, causing alarm among officials who are rush to provide resources to stop rising arrival of minors and families crossing illegally into the United States.
The surge in migrants adds to a growing sense of emergency for the Biden administration, which has been seeking to undo the Trump administration’s immigration policies during that time.
“February was unprecedented compared to the last five years,” a Homeland Security official told CNN. Single adults account for the majority of arrests, but the percentage of families and children increased last month, according to the official.
Since last April, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen an increase in border encounters from the Western Hemisphere due to worsening economic conditions brought on by the pandemic and natural disasters in the region, according to the border agency.
Arrivals at the border tend to increase in the spring, but the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation and further limited the ability along the border to process migrants. Last year, the numbers dropped in March and April as the pandemic took hold of them and travel restrictions were put in place.
At that time, when the pandemic gripped the country, the Trump administration invoked a public health law that allowed border officials to turn away migrants detained at the border. That law is still in effect under the Biden administration.
However, under the Biden administration, unaccompanied children are exempt and allowed to remain in the United States pending immigration cases. Some families and others have also been allowed to remain in the United States due to changes in Mexican policy and case-by-case determinations.
CNN has reached out to DHS and CBP for comment.
Thousands of children detained on the southern border of the United States.
A CBP spokesperson had said: “The unique challenges of the pandemic require additional authorities, such as the CDC order known as Title 42, to enable DHS to effectively protect both the health and safety of migrants and our lives. communities from the spread of covid-19. The border is not open and the vast majority of people are being returned under Title 42.
CNN reported Monday that the number of unaccompanied migrant children at U.S. Border Patrol facilities, which are similar to jail cells and are not intended for children, has reached dramatic levels, according to internal documents from the United States. the agency reviewed by CNN, underscoring the urgent challenge facing the Biden administration.
More than 3,200 unaccompanied migrant children were in the custody of Customs and Border Protection, according to documents dated Monday.
That was about half the total number of people in custody, which was more than 6,500 as of Monday morning, the DHS official said. About half of the number of children in custody were in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas, the official added.
When administration officials, including the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, visited the facility temporary tent in Donna, TexasOver the weekend, they saw a “significantly overcrowded facility,” predominantly filled with children, the official told CNN.
“The number of children is alarming and worrying and is not good at all,” added the official.
Border authorities encounter 4,000 to 5,000 people daily, the official said, adding that just over 500 are unaccompanied children.
Discussions are ongoing about the possible need for additional funding to provide resources to border missions, another Homeland Security official told CNN, saying officials are discussing the possibility of a rescheduling request or a supplemental request for funding at the Congress in the coming weeks and months.
“If we have increased the flow of migrants, there will be an increase in the need to deal with undocumented immigrants coming to the United States,” the official said. “If there is an increase in support, who will pay for it?”
– CNN’s Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt and Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this story.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism