CBP: Record number of migrants crossed the U.S. border in May

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The good news is that fewer unaccompanied minors and families crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the month of May. The bad news is that a record number of migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the month of May. More than 180,000 migrants were encountered at the southern border. That number is up from April.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) quietly posted May’s numbers on its website late Wednesday. This has become its pattern – unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration does so without calling attention to the numbers or fielding questions from reporters. Remember when Joe Biden claimed his administration would be the most transparent administration ever? That certainly isn’t the case when it comes to immigration and border security matters.

The number of unaccompanied minors and families who crossed the southern border dropped but remained at record high numbers. 14,158 unaccompanied minors were encountered at the border, down from 17,148 in April. The May number is the third highest on record. The all-time high number was in March, which was 18,951.

The rise in overall encounters at the southern border is due to single adults. Total encounters are at a 20 year high. It should be noted that because Biden has kept in place Title 42 that was used by the Trump administration to immediately expel illegal migrants due to the coronavirus pandemic, a public health crisis, there are no real consequences for these adults. They are usually expelled within two hours and just continue to try to cross the border at other times. Nearly nine out of every 10 single adults was expelled due to public health concerns as Border Patrol agents try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of families encountered totaled 44,794 in May. That number is down from 50,228 in April. One of every five families was expelled in May under authority due to the pandemic.

Unaccompanied minors are exempt from expulsion and allowed to stay in the United States. Latin American families know this and many are sending their children to the southern border without them. This leads to the horrific stories we see of very young children left alone, crying in dangerous terrain, waiting to be rescued by law enforcement.

Do these numbers indicate that the southern border is closed, as Team Biden continues to say? If the border was truly closed to illegal migrants, the word would be out. The word that is out, though, is that if they can get across the border, they will likely be allowed to stay. Even the single adults who are immediately expelled do not suffer any consequences so they continue to seek entry until they are successful. It is a vicious circle. Instead of slowing activity at the southern border down, May was the busiest month on the border for the Biden administration. The increase in the number of migrants from countries other than the Northern Triangle or Mexico is astounding.

The latest CBP data show a major increase in the number of non-Mexican and non-Central American migrants encountered along the border, however. CBP detained 40,067 migrants from other nations last month, up from 9,671 in January, according to the latest figures. Those migrants included large numbers of Cubans, Haitians, Ecuadorans, Brazilians and citizens of African nations, officials said.

The Biden administration points to progress being made with the handling of the flood of unaccompanied minors by crediting changes in the process. A lot of the work is being handed off to FEMA.

The Biden administration reported more progress last month in its efforts to quickly transfer unaccompanied minors from Border Patrol custody to Department of Health and Human Services shelters. Teens and children spent an average of 26 hours in CBP custody in May, down from an average of 92 hours in April, the agency said.

“This sustained progress is a result of the steps [the Department of Homeland Security] took to reengineer processes and mobilize personnel Department-wide, including designating FEMA to lead a whole of government effort to assist the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with establishing temporary facilities that provide a safe, sanitary, and secure environment for unaccompanied children,” the CBP statement said.

More than 350 officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have been assigned to run background and screening checks on family members and other sponsors seeking to take custody of the minors from HHS.

The Mexican government has deployed thousands of soldiers and police along migration routes which is the biggest reason for lower numbers of children and families reaching the southern border, according to U.S. officials. Kamala’s trip to Guatemala and Mexico likely will reap no rewards. The Guatemalan president flat-out blamed Joe Biden for the border crisis. The Mexican president is always looking for a deal to cut but it still isn’t clear what Kamala might have offered in exchange for work that is already being done by Mexico. Mexico was a willing partner in border control during the Trump administration. Joe Biden put a halt to most of that cooperation by undoing Trump’s policies and actions. Now the Biden administration expects Mexico to act as though there is a new level of cooperation with the U.S. It’s bizarro world thinking. Meanwhile, there is no end in sight and the numbers continue to increase.