In April, two-thirds of immigrants arriving in the United States were adults
La Jolla, Texas — The couple came out of the bushes and finally brought an exhausted child to a baseball field. Border Patrol officers issued instructions: families with young children line up, and unaccompanied minors are another. For adults traveling alone, the third row is shorter.
In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the scene of La Joya, a small town of about 4,000 people every night, repeats that Tuesday night, which brings Joe Biden One of his most serious plights since he took office as a young man: immigrants who cross the Mexican border every day to seek asylum. April is the second month that unaccompanied minors have the most contacts, second only to March, which is the highest number ever.
While asylum-seeking families and minors get all the attention, more and more adults arrive alone. In April, two-thirds of immigrants who arrived in the United States were adults. Compared with families and minors, they were less likely to surrender to the authorities. This made it difficult to know how many people crossed the border.
In April, the Border Patrol handled 173,460 immigrants, a 3% increase from March. This is the highest number since April 2000. However, it is impossible to compare the figures released on Tuesday, because most of the people arrested were immediately expelled from the country using special powers, which allowed them to refuse asylum applications during the pandemic. . It doesn’t matter to expel, so many people try to cross many times.
Single adults (more than half of them are Mexicans) are the ones driving the increase. In April, the Border Patrol had 108,301 “en”, of which adults traveled alone, a 12% increase from March. In one-tenth of the encounters, nearly nine times ended with the power originally invoked by the Donald Trump administration to expel immigrants, and the Biden administration continues to exert its appeal.
Biden allowed unaccompanied minors to stay and seek asylum. It also recognizes families with children and sets them free, while the onerous immigration courts are processing their applications.
Agents and retired military officers said that attention to families and unaccompanied minors made military officers more concerned about them, clearing the way for single adults and traffickers to evade the authorities.
Michael Fisher, who was in charge of the Border Patrol from 2010 to 2015, said that some Border Patrol leaders have told him that the time staff spend on patrols has been reduced by 40% to ” Handling, preparing meals” and other tasks related to the crossing of more and more minors. boundary.
He said: “The line is very thin right now, and the cartel is taking advantage of this.”
Agents tried to determine how many people avoided arrest, but Fisher believed that his number was the “best estimate” in the Rio Grande Valley, the most widely used corridor for illegal border crossings. This is a dense bush, traditionally few sensors, many families and children in groups. The Border Patrol estimates how many people have escaped the checkpoint based on the footprints left by immigrants, damaged spider webs, twigs shattered and stones displaced by footprints.
Under the leadership of the Trump administration, Mexican adults have been driven away from the border in the hope that they will not try to cross the border again, but the number of repeat offenders is still high. The Border Patrol said 29% of those deported in April had been deported in the past.
The first batch of garbage from the Border Patrol Academy recently graduated, specializing in legal documents, thus freeing up more agents for on-site work. They are assigned to the busiest runners in Texas, but their numbers are still limited and will have almost no immediate impact.
The authorities arrested 17,117 minors. They traveled alone in April, 9% less than the 18,960 in March, but much higher than the previous peak of 11,475 minors arrested in May 2019. The Border Patrol released these figures for 2009.
In La Jolla, a 15-year-old girl said that she had no parents or siblings when she left Honduras, hoping to study and find a job that could help her family. He traveled for a month and a half and arrived at the baseball stadium with a group of immigrants. She was wearing a black T-shirt with an English phrase on it. She didn’t know what it meant: “Women move mountains.”
“I hope that I and my family will have a better future. I want to study and work,” he said. She added that she has some uncles in New York willing to receive her.
The Associated Press does not use girls’ names. It usually does not recognize minors without parental authorization, and therefore cannot obtain parental identity.
Nearby, two Honduran sisters, 14 and 16 years old, disbanded the bun’s head, and after the agents ordered them to put the and strap and the strap tied to the bun’s head into a plastic bag with their mobile phones, the shoelaces were changed from pink Remove sports shoes, bracelets and other items.
Rudys Acuña, 29, said he left Nicaragua for political reasons. While waiting for instructions from the agents, he carried a four-year-old son on his back.
“Sometimes they force you to leave your country. “This is not what you want to do,” he said.