Humanitarian crisis continues on US southern border: More than 18,800 unaccompanied minors

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The arrivals of migrants illegally crossing their southern borders USA increased by 70% in March, the month in which 172,000 arrests were made, most of them 15 years ago, according to official statistics released today.

The number of unaccompanied minors doubled in one month, from 9,400 in February to 18,890 in March, as recorded in the data released by the Customs and Border Guard Service (CPB).

The largest increase, however, concerns those migrants who cross the border with their families: from about 20,000 in February, they rose to 53,823 in March.

These migratory flows, which increased in late 2020 but clearly took on a larger scale after President Joe Biden took office in late January, pose a major challenge for the US government, which has pledged not to repatriate unaccompanied refugees. .

As of April 6, more than 20,000 unaccompanied children were being housed in government accommodation facilities, some of which are not properly designed for the younger ones.

The Republican opposition accuses Biden of causing a “domino effect” by easing the immigration policy of his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump. Shortly after taking office, Biden suspended deportations of illegal immigrants, proposed a bill that would allow them to obtain citizenship, and began accepting some of the asylum seekers who had been waiting patiently for months in camps in Mexico. In his first press conference on March 25, he defended his approach, saying he “will not apologize” for repealing “policies that violate international law and human dignity.” He also claimed that every year the arrivals of illegal immigrants increase in winter because people “are less likely to die from the heat in the desert”.

In its announcement today, the border guard stated that “the increase in arrivals and arrests is not something new”. Troy Miller, the head of the service, noted that arrivals began to increase from April 2020.

Some 104,000 migrants were deported and immediately repatriated, according to rules in place to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The border guard did not specify what happened to the others.

Theoretically, all adults and all families are sent back, across the border. However, the Mexican authorities do not accept all families, especially those with children under 6 years old.

Half of these migrants come from Central America, mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and are trying to escape poverty and drug cartel violence. More than 62,000 are Mexicans, according to CPB figures.

Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mallorca will visit the southern border today.

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