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Illegal Mexican Border Crossings Rise For Fifth Month

The number of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexican border illegally rose for the fifth straight month in September after the Trump administration adopted a pandemic policy allowing border agents immediately to expel anyone caught making such an attempt, the Wall Street Journal reports. Border Patrol agents caught 54,771 migrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico last month and immediately expelled 48,327 of them, making it the busiest September at the border since 2006. Apprehensions along the border have been steadily increasing since hitting a three-year low in April of about 16,000, the first full month after President Donald Trump declared an emergency at the border. Agents could quickly remove nearly every foreigner caught crossing into the U.S. without giving them the chance to ask for asylum.

The total number of migrants caught at the border fell by more than half to about 400,000 in the year ending September 30 after a peak in the same period a year earlier when a wave of Central American families and unaccompanied children overwhelmed border officials, causing dangerous overcrowding in detention centers. The total for the year ending in September marked a return to the levels recorded during the Obama administration, when Border Patrol agents registered more than 500,000 annual apprehensions only once—in the 2009 budget year. Apprehensions at the border had been declining since June 2019, when the administration ramped up a policy that forced asylum seekers to wait out court cases in Mexico. Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, credited that program, known as Remain in Mexico, as a “game-changer.” He predicted that illegal border crossings would continue climbing as Latin America experiences the prolonged economic effects of the pandemic and more migrants head north seeking work.