The number of unaccompanied children stopped at the southern border likely hit a record high in June, The Associated Press reported, a surprising development as the high summer temperatures typically stymie border crossings.
U.S. officials likely picked up more than 19,000 unaccompanied children last month, more than the previous record of 18,877 that was set in March, according to the AP, which cited David Shahoulian, the assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In June, 15,253 unaccompanied minors were stopped at the border, the news service noted.
Shahoulian also said that the number of migrants who came into the U.S. in family groups likely hit its second-highest number last month, at an estimated 80,000, according to the AP. It added that the latest figure is less than the record high of 88,857, set in May 2019, but significantly more than the previous second-highest number of 55,805, which was recorded in June.
Overall, U.S. authorities likely encountered migrants roughly 210,000 times at the border last month, which was more than the 188,829 stopped in June and the highest number recorded in more than two decades, the news service reported.
The numbers, however, are not exactly analogous, as several migrants cross the border many times each due to a pandemic-related mandate that immediately turns away people from the country without the opportunity to seek asylum, which does not come with legal consequences, according to the AP.
The most crossings were reportedly seen in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley regions in south Texas.
Shahoulian’s estimates for crossings were included in a court filing after immigrant advocacy groups revived their legal battle against the government’s mandate that expels families at the border because of the risks associated with COVID-19, the AP noted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended that policy, known as Title 42, on Monday. DHS said it would continue carrying out the ban for single adults and families. Unaccompanied children, however, are exempt from the policy.