SAN DIEGO (AP) — Illegal border crossings by Cubans and Nicaraguans rose sharply in November while overall migration flows were little changed from October, U.S. authorities said Friday.
The snapshot is the latest detailed account of who is crossing the border from Mexico amid preparations to end a Trump-era asylum ban. It marked the third-highest monthly count of Joe Biden's presidency.
Migrants have been denied a chance to seek asylum under U.S. and international law 2.5 million times since March 2020 under Title 42, a public health rule aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. It was scheduled to end two days ago until Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced a temporary hold.
Cubans, who are leaving the island nation in their largest numbers in six decades, were stopped 34,675 times at the U.S. border with Mexico in November, up 21% from 28,848 times in October.
Nicaraguans, a large reason why El Paso, Texas, has become the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, were stopped 34,209 times, up 65% from 20,920 in October.
Overall, Customs and Border Protection tallied 233,740 migrant encounters, up 1% from 231,294 in October. Mexicans were the largest nationality, followed by Cubans and Nicaraguans. Ecuadoreans were stopped 11,831 times, up 68% from 7,031 times.
High costs, strained diplomatic relations and other considerations have complicated the Biden administration's efforts to use Title 42 on some nationalities, including Cubans and Nicaraguans.
Venezuelans were seen far less after Mexico agreed on Oct. 12 to begin accepting those expelled from the United States under Title 42. They were stopped 7,931 times, down 64% from 22,045 in October.
Russians were stopped 5,507 times, up 42% from 3,879. The vast majority were allowed into the United States under Title 42 exemptions in San Diego. The Associated Press reported last week that CBP was handing 40 exemptions a day to a private group to select people and that the group charged Russian speakers money for help getting them in the country.
CBP said Friday that those "who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be quickly removed" after Title 42 ends. Last week, authorities reported faster processing for migrants in custody on the border, more temporary detention tents, staffing surges and increased criminal prosecutions of smugglers.