The United States is facing an unprecedented surge in illegal border crossings, leading to a record number of migrant encounters along its southern border.

  • Key Points:
  • Federal authorities report over 9,600 migrant encounters daily along the southern border in December, hitting record numbers.
  • The surge strains resources, with authorities struggling to manage the influx of migrants and process them efficiently.
  • The situation nears a “breaking point” as the number of migrants exceeds the system’s capacity.
  • The Biden administration explores additional enforcement measures with Mexico to stem the flow of migrants.

The United States is facing an unprecedented surge in illegal border crossings, leading to a record number of migrant encounters along its southern border. Authorities have reported a seven-day average of over 9,600 encounters in December, significantly higher than the 6,800 average recorded in November. This surge has overwhelmed resources, with federal authorities struggling to process and accommodate the influx of migrants.

In recent days, daily migrant crossings have surpassed 10,000, reaching levels not seen since before the lifting of Title 42, a COVID-era restriction that allowed authorities to turn back migrants at the border. The challenge is compounded by the involvement of multiple sectors, making it difficult to decompress or process migrants efficiently.

The worsening situation prompted a call between President Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, emphasizing the need for more enforcement to reopen border ports and alleviate the strain on resources. Senior U.S. officials will visit Mexico to discuss further measures.

In November, border authorities apprehended nearly 192,000 migrants between ports of entry, indicating a 2% increase compared to October. The total encounters along the southwest border that month reached 242,418, including those at ports of entry.

Department of Homeland Security officials had planned for surges as high as 16,000 to 18,000 arrivals per day but determined that a sustained flow beyond 12,000 to 14,000 would strain resources and potentially lead to a breakdown of the system.

Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has over 26,000 migrants in custody, exceeding its capacity by nearly 10,000 people. The surge is attributed to pseudo-legitimate travel agencies and organized transportation networks facilitating migrants’ travel to the U.S. border and connecting them with smugglers.

In conclusion, the U.S. southern border is facing a record number of migrant encounters, straining resources and pushing the system to its limits. The Biden administration is seeking additional enforcement measures with Mexico to address the situation and prevent a complete breakdown of the border management system.

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