The number of unaccompanied children picked up at the southern border by US immigration officials likely reached an all-time high in July, and the number of families arriving in the US will hit its second-highest total on record, according to a report.
More than 19,000 children traveling alone were picked up by US authorities last month, beating the previous high of 18,877 in March, David Shahoulian, assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security, told the Associated Press.
In June, 15,253 children were encountered.
The number of families picked up in July is expected to hit 80,000, Shahoulian said — just short of the record high of 88,857 set in May 2019 but up markedly from the 55,805 in June.
The increases from June are notable because border crossings usually slow down during the summer months because of the dangerously high temperatures.
Overall, illegal immigrants were stopped about 210,000 times at the border in July — an 11 percent increase from the 188,829 in June and the highest number in more than 20 years.
The report noted that the numbers may be skewed because US authorities often come in contact with illegal immigrants repeatedly because of the coronavirus policy that allows people seeking asylum to be expelled.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the policy would remain in effect until it is determined that the introduction of COVID into the US by migrants “has ceased to be a serious danger to public health.”
The Biden White House has been under mounting pressure to find a way to respond to the crisis at the border caused after the president rolled back or reversed many of the immigration policies put in place by former President Donald Trump.
The release of the numbers comes as newly released video shows nearly a thousand migrants being held by border agents under a bridge near Mission, Texas.
“An absolute catastrophe from Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and House & Senate Democrats. #BidenBorderCrisis,” GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) wrote on Twitter Sunday, linking to the footage posted by Bill Melugin of Fox News in Los Angeles.
The encounters were overwhelmingly concentrated in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley sectors in Texas.
Border agents stopped illegal immigrants about 78,000 times in July in the Rio Grande Valley sector, Shaghoulian said, an increase from 59,380 in June and 51,149 in May.
The final tally of border arrests in July isn’t expected to be released for several days but the preliminary numbers provide a good estimate, the report said.
US authorities encountered 6,779 people, including 616 unaccompanied children and 2,583 who arrived with families, on average daily during the first 29 days of July, Shahoulian said.
He added that the number of people stopped in families is expected to hit an all-time high for the 2021 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
With Post Wires