The factors and causes behind the arrival of undocumented migrants to the United States are multiple and complex, the debate on how to deal with the situation is intense, and the option of a politically consensual solution is as chimerical for Joe Biden as it was for his predecessors. that they looked for it. The reality, in any case, is without discussion: every day more people are intercepted on the southern border of the country with Mexico and, specifically in the case of unaccompanied minors, the flow is unprecedented .
Thursday, when Secretary of Homeland Security Biden, Alejandro Mayorkas, again visit that border, were made public the latest official data confirm a crisis that worsens . In March, more than 172,000 people were intercepted in the border region , 71% more than in February and the highest number in 20 years .
Of those, almost 19,000 migrants were unaccompanied minors , the highest number ever recorded since the data began to be stored in 2009 and a figure that is double that of February and triple that of March last year.
The situation of minors is the most pressing, for them and for the Biden Administration, which exempted them from the direct and immediate expulsion to which the government of Donald Trump had been subjecting them, which was shielded in an emergency measure adopted with Public health arguments during the coronavirus pandemic.
The facilities where they are welcomed are overwhelmed and although steps are being taken to alleviate the situation and sources from the Administration this Wednesday assured in a conference call that progress was being made ” in the right direction “, they also admitted that “there is much work to be done ” .
By the end of March, for example, an average of 507 minors were being transferred every day from Border Patrol (CBP) facilities to better prepared ones at the Department of Health and Human Resources, from where they are being relocated. either with relatives or with sponsors. That represents a notable improvement over February, when some 276 of those transfers were made.
The Administration has also opened or plans to open 11 emergency sites with more than 18,000 beds in places such as convention centers, stadiums or military bases, and is also paying for flights to locate minors with ‘sponsors’ or relatives.
Even with these improvements, however, the data indicate that in many cases the regulations that require the transfer of minors within 72 hours from the CBP are still being violated and the average length of stay of minors with the border patrol is in more than 135 hours .
And in one of those CBP facilities in Donna, Texas, there are, for example, more than 400 minors in a tent complex designed for just 250. Between CBP and the Department of Health they currently have 20,000 minors in custody , another all-time high.
The general data also confirm the growing flow of migrants and some of the new realities. 28% of the immigrants that the US expelled in March, for example, had already tried to enter the country before, a sample of recidivism that has skyrocketed from the 7% registered before the pandemic.
It is precisely the practice that was adopted in the Trump era of expelling them for public health reasons and that Biden has maintained for adults that is linked to this recidivism.
Traditionally, an arrested and expelled undocumented migrant who tries to enter the United States illegally again can be charged or barred from future entry through legal channels, but expulsions under Title 42 ( 60% of the current ones) do not make them face consequences in court, with which many try again.
The data provided this Thursday also indicates that the group of migrants that has grown the most compared to February in the undocumented border crossings is that of family units, to which almost 52,000 of those intercepted belonged.
One in three of those were expelled, but the rest were allowed to seek asylum. These families come mainly from Honduras and Guatemala, but Mexicans continue to be the migrants who arrive the most, and most of them are adults.