Preliminary data from border officials confirms the latest surge of migrants being apprehended at the US-Mexico border is historically high.
The number of migrants crossing into the US reached its highest levels in at least 15 years; more than 170,000 migrants were taken into custody by Customs and Border Patrol employees in the month of March, according to data reviewed by the Washington Post and CNN.
That’s the highest monthly figure since 2006.
Of those apprehensions, more than 18,800 were unaccompanied minors, according to the Post. That’s well above the previous monthly record of more than 11,800 in May 2019.
Roughly 53,000 people were detained as part of a family group in March, also a record number.
Single adults are still the majority of migrants encountered at the border, according to the data.
The March data also shows a doubling of border arrests and detentions since January alone.
During his first news conference last month, President Joe Biden said the surge in migrants at the US-Mexico border “happens every year,” however it appears this current surge is higher and more rapid than previous years.
The Biden administration has opened several military and civilian facilities around the country to help house the increase in individuals, families and unaccompanied minors.
Images from inside some of the Border Patrol facilities reveal cramped detention conditions where individuals are being held far longer than legal limits state while they wait for beds at emergency shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
On Friday, Customs and Border Patrol officials announced a new 90,000-square-foot tent facility opening soon near Eagle Pass, Texas to help the agency handle the large volume of families and children.
Biden and his administration has said the surge at the border is a result of policies and changes during the Trump administration. On March 1, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters when he got to the agency he found it “gutted.”
“What we are seeing now at the border is the immediate result of the dismantlement of the system and the time that it takes to rebuild it virtually from scratch,” he said, asking migrants to wait.
Biden stopped enforcement of a policy of the former President Trump administration that forced asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, or another country, until their court date in the US.
The Biden administration has also promised a more welcoming approach to immigrants, announced a 100-day deportation moratorium - which has been challenged in court - and said they would allow unaccompanied minors to seek humanitarian protections.