US Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended more than 173,000 illegal immigrants at the southern border last month, an increase of more than 5 percent after three consecutive months of decline, the agency announced Friday.
The number of apprehensions had gradually dropped after topping out at 213,593 arrests in July, the highest in a single month for at least 21 years. However, the totals remain massive compared to past years.
The 173,620 stops in November are more than twice the 72,113 stops reported in November of 2020 and more than four times the 42,643 apprehensions reported in the same month in 2019.
According to CBP, 127,653 so-called “unique individuals” were stopped at the border in November — a 10 percent increase from October — meaning thousands were caught on at least their second attempt to enter the US.
The agency also said that a quarter of the 173,620 apprehended had at least one prior encounter with CBP in the previous 12 months. Two-thirds of those apprehended were single adults, while the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended rose more than 9 percent to 13,959.
According to the Washington Post, border agents arrested more than 20,000 migrants from Venezuela, a 54 percent increase from October. The number of Cuban and Guatemalan migrants apprehended also increased by approximately 12 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
Roughly half of the 173,600 people arrested last month were deported back to their native countries or returned to Mexico under the Title 42 public health authority meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
November’s arrest numbers come one week after the Biden administration reinstated the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires asylum seekers attempting to enter the US by crossing the southern border to wait in Mexico until their cases are heard.
The administration attempted to block the program several times this year, despite admitting that it may have helped with decreasing the number of illegal border crossings.
After reaching a deal with Mexico on reinstatement, the US relaunched the policy last week with several changes — including the offering of COVID-19 vaccines to all eligible migrants, a vaccination requirement to re-enter the US, a commitment to complete asylum proceedings within six months of an individual’s return to Mexico; and the provision of more opportunities for asylum-seekers to secure legal counsel.
One of the infamous protocols of the policy under former President Donald Trump was separating families at the border as a deterrent for others traveling north.
On Dec. 9, the Department of Homeland Security issued a public request, asking the American people to submit recommendations on how the government can avoid that part of the policy.
It is unclear if re-implementing the policy will act as a deterrent for the thousands of migrants traveling north through Mexico in several large migrant caravans in hopes to seek asylum in the US, as CBP has not released any arrest data since the policy was put back in place.