Officials Brace For Surge In Migrant Crossings Along The Southern Border Amidst Increasing Numbers

The number of unauthorized migrants crossing the southern border increased in February, following a decline in January, according to two U.S. government officials. This comes as the Biden administration braces for a larger surge in migration during the spring.

According to anonymous U.S. officials, Border Patrol agents have reported a significant increase in migrant apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border. In the previous month, approximately 140,000 apprehensions were recorded, compared to 124,000 in January when there was a notable decrease in unlawful crossings.

Around 50,000 migrants have been processed at ports of entry, as the Biden administration continues to admit individuals who utilize a government mobile app to schedule appointments for entry into the United States.

The number of migrant crossings in February remains significantly lower than the record levels of migration observed in December. During that month, U.S. immigration authorities processed a staggering 302,000 migrants. However, the rise in illegal entries from January suggests that migration is picking up again as we head into the spring season. Historically, migrant arrivals have experienced a notable surge during this time of year.

The duration of the upward trend in migrant crossings remains uncertain, as migration patterns are influenced by various complex factors, including actions taken by the Mexican government. Following the notable surge in crossings in December, the Biden administration successfully persuaded the Mexican government to intensify their endeavors in preventing and repatriating migrants heading towards the United States.

In recent weeks, there has been a shift in the geographical location of illegal crossings. The majority of migrants are now entering remote areas of Arizona and California. Interestingly, Texas, which has the longest border with Mexico, has seen a significant decrease in migrant crossings compared to last year. Governor Greg Abbott claims that this shift is a result of his actions, such as deploying razor wire near the Rio Grande. However, U.S. officials point out that Mexican enforcement has become more prominent near the Texas border.

The surge in migrant arrivals has the potential to complicate an already challenging political and operational landscape for President Biden. His administration has faced significant difficulties in managing an unprecedented influx of migrants. Over the past two fiscal years, Border Patrol has documented more than 2 million apprehensions of individuals who entered the country unlawfully, marking the highest number of detentions in the agency’s history.

According to recent polls, immigration is likely to be a key concern in the upcoming 2024 election. This election could potentially be a rematch between President Joe Biden and his Republican opponent from 2020, former President Donald Trump. However, immigration happens to be one of the most poorly-performing issues for President Biden in these polls.

To address the anticipated increase in border arrivals this spring, Mr. Biden is contemplating the issuance of an executive order to impose additional restrictions on the outdated and overwhelmed asylum system. One of the proposed measures would involve Mr. Biden using a broad authority, previously employed by Trump multiple times, to disqualify migrants from asylum if their entry is deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hinted at the possibility of President Biden using a legal authority known as 212(f), although he did not explicitly confirm it. Mayorkas acknowledged that if such a move were to be made, it would likely face legal challenges from migrant advocacy groups.

During his appearance on “Face the Nation” Sunday, Mayorkas explained that the courts had put an injunction on former President Trump’s use of the statutory provision 212(f). He emphasized that administrative actions are frequently subject to litigation and therefore do not have long-lasting effects.

“We must provide lasting solutions that meet the expectations of the American people, and it is crucial for Congress to fulfill these expectations,” he emphasized.

Earlier this year, the White House collaborated with a bipartisan group of Senators to establish an immigration compromise. The objective of this compromise was to enhance asylum rules and grant border officials the authority to swiftly deport migrants during periods of increased border crossings. However, many Republicans in Congress promptly dismissed the deal, arguing that it did not meet their stringent requirements.

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