Authorities detained 208,887 migrants in August, keeping illegal crossings along the U.S. southern border at decades-high levels last month despite the scorching summer heat, reports the Washington Post. While it was the first month since President Joe Biden took office that the number of border arrests did not increase, the August figure was only a 2 percent decline from July, when 212,672 were taken into custody, a 21-year high. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped more than 1.2 million border crossers since Biden took office.
Crossings have continued to soar regardless of the extreme weather, and U.S. border authorities have struggled to cope with the health, humanitarian and security challenges of the historic influx, particularly as families and children account for a growing share of crossings. In August, 25 percent of the migrants taken into U.S. custody “had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months,” compared with an average rate of 14 percent during previous years. This contradicts the purpose of the U.S. public health code known as Title 42 to rapidly “expel” some border crossers without holding them in custody, a practice designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but that authorities say has only resulted in higher levels of repeat crossing attempts as some migrants try again and again to evade capture. The latest CBP data shows the percentage of migrants returned to Mexico under Title 42 has continued to decline, and in August, only 44 percent of those taken into custody were processed under that authority.