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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Oct. 6, 2023: Want to take a wild guess how many migrants have entered the US’ southwestern border so far this fiscal year? If you guessed over 2 million you won the jackpot – 2.3 million to be exact, at least up to September 20.

It is surprisingly about the same number as last fiscal year, even if it seems like it’s a lot more. However, 2022 and 2023 have seen record number of migrants coming over the southern border, overwhelming cities and resources.

Border Patrol agents apprehended roughly 140,000 migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization during the first 20 days of September, an average of about 6,900 each day, according to the internal agency data reported by CBS News. That represents a 60% increase from the daily average of 4,300 in July.

Dozens of agents from the National Immigration Institute (INM) set up a human fence on the banks of the Rio Bravo in order to inhibit a caravan of hundreds of migrants from crossing into the United States, on October 03, 2023 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Dozens of municipal police officers joined the operation, as well as agents from the State Police; However, the migrants who had arrived aboard the freight train crossed the natural border to look for a way to cross the spikes placed by the Texas National Guard. (Photo by Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is on track to record more than 210,000 migrant apprehensions this month, according to CBS. In August, the total reported was 232,972, a spike from June and July, when the numbers had dropped somewhat to over 144,000 and 183,000, respectively.

The number of migrants coming in has not been in the 200,000 range since April and May when it hit over 211,000 and 206,000, respectively.

But last week, Border Patrol reportedly processed nearly 9,000 migrants in one day, a daily apprehension level not seen since 10,000 migrants crossed into the U.S. illegally per day during several days in May, before the discontinuation of the Trump era Title 42 rule.

NBC News reported that Border Patrol apprehended more than 7,500 migrants on September 17th while The New York Times reported more than 8,000 migrants on September 18th.

The busiest sectors were Rio Grande Valley, in south Texas, where more than 1,800 migrant apprehensions were done on Sept. 17th; Del Rio, in mid-Texas where more than 1,600 was done, also on Sept. 17th and Tucson, which makes up most of Arizona, where more than 1,500 was also reported on September 17th.

Most migrants entering are single adults or families with children. Most of the migrants entering are from Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Leading rights organization, WOLA, says “the numbers indicate that the post-Title 42 “wait and see” period is over, and asylum seekers are again opting to turn themselves in to Border Patrol in areas between the official ports of entry.”

Many are also tired of waiting for an appointment at a port of entry or through a humanitarian parole program and have decided to take their chances and cross the border illegally, while an increasing number of migrants aren’t even aware that legal pathways, like humanitarian parole or appointments via the CBP One smartphone app, even exist.

The crisis is also impacting Mexico where Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena told reporters last week that more migrants have reached the border in recent weeks, leading to increased security checks at the frontier that have caused trade delays.

Barcena said Mexican officials were looking to carry out “assisted returns” of migrants to Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, in addition to current deportation flights to the trio of Central American nations, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Mexican shelters are also overcrowded.

Meanwhile, so far this year, over 400,000 migrants have crossed the perilous Darien Gap linking Colombia with Panama, already marking an all-time high and nearly double the figure over all of last year.

Expulsion from the US is no longer as fast as the Title 42 era, when decisions could be made in minutes or hours and the majority of migrants who apply through the CPB One app are allowed to remain in the U.S. temporarily as they pursue their asylum claims — even though most of them will ultimately lose their cases. That fact is what is driving most migrants to venture into the US. Until the asylum applications are capped for the year and persons can apply only at US consulates in a country they are passing through, the numbers will keep on rising.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com, the Black Immigrant Daily.

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