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Apprehensions of immigrant children have increased, CBP says

Apprehensions of immigrant children have increased, CBP says
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The number of immigrant children and families being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border is increasing, according to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), posing a potential challenge for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE as he takes office next month. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the increase Wednesday, the coronavirus pandemic, as well as impacts of the Trump administration’s 2019 policy limiting asylum claims in the U.S., resulted in a significant reduction in the flow of migrants from Latin America. 

However, CBP data show that in October, about 4,630 unaccompanied children were taken into custody by Southwest border patrol agents, an increase from 712 in April. 

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The agency also noted that 4,501 migrants traveling with family members were apprehended in October, up from 716 in April. 

The Journal reported that a recent federal court filing made by the federal government showed that during a single six-day period in mid-November, roughly 1,000 children were taken into border patrol custody. 

This comes after CBP reported in October that border encounters had returned to traditional levels following a spike in 2019. 

CBP reported at the time that encounters with people crossing the border illegally decreased 53 percent in fiscal 2020, with 458,088 people encountered, down from 977,509 in fiscal 2019. 

However, experts told the Journal Wednesday that the recent increase could be attributed to declining Latin American economies and two hurricanes in the fall that destroyed parts of Honduras and Guatemala.

In August, the Journal reported an increase in the number of illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border following a new policy implemented by the U.S. in March in response to the pandemic that allowed immigration agents to turn most migrants back to their home countries. 

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Biden, who has called for wide-reaching immigration reform, has pledged to end the Trump administration’s 2019 Migrant Protection Protocols program, which mandates that certain migrants must remain in Mexico for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings. 

According to the Journal, the program has sent more than 68,000 people to Mexico as of October. 

However, some experts say that the election of Biden may cause even more migrants to flock to the border in hopes of a change in immigration policy. 

“Typically when there is a change in administration, we’ve seen that over the years it’s a classic pull factor," Mike Fisher, a former Border Patrol chief who oversaw the agency’s response to the first wave of families and children at the border in 2014, told the Journal.