Detentions of migrants at southwest border rise 40 percent in June

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Detentions of migrants along the southwest border rose 40 percent in June from the previous month, as U.S. authorities continue a policy of swift expulsions of undocumented migrants amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In all, U.S. authorities detained 30,300 migrants at the border in June, up from 21,498 in May, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) numbers released Thursday.

Overall, the numbers of detentions in 2020 have plunged, however, amid the pandemic.

Since March, CBP has kept statistics separating immigrants without legal status who were apprehended under regular immigration laws — known as Title 8 apprehensions — and under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, known as Title 42 apprehensions.

In June, 27,504 detainees were sent back to Mexico under Title 42 apprehensions, amount to 91 percent, while 2,796 were registered as Title 8 apprehensions.

The proportion of Title 42 apprehensions, a quick deportation method that’s been criticized by human rights advocates, were in line with figures in April and May. 

The June border apprehension numbers also show that 27,178 of those apprehended are single adults, rather than unaccompanied children or groups traveling as family units.

Although apprehensions of minors and families have risen steadily since their lowest point in April, they are still much lower than before the pandemic.

In June, 1,558 people were apprehended traveling with their families, compared to 971 in May and 714 in April, but 3,455 in March and 4,612 in February.

The pattern is similar for unaccompanied children, 1,564 of whom were apprehended in June; 960 in May and 697 in April, but 2,956 in March and 3,069 in February.

The release of the latest border enforcement figures comes a day after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s White House meeting with President Trump, where both leaders lauded each other’s cooperation on bilateral affairs.

The rise also comes as the Trump administration has sped up its border wall construction efforts, including filing lawsuits against landowners along the border and signing an agreement with a private company to build a “virtual” border wall.

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