The White House has tried to pass the surge in migration on the U.S.-Mexico border as nothing more than a routine seasonal residency. “It happens every year,” President Biden said at a press conference last month. New York MP Ritchie Torres described the crisis as “more of a cyclical event than a unique consequence of the policies of the Biden administration”.
Bad timing, as shown by the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. CBP announced this week that there were more than 172,300 migrant encounters on the southwest border in March, a 71% increase from February. That’s an increase from 103,731 in March 2019 and 50,347 in March 2018.
That includes a record 18,890 unaccompanied children, compared to 9,380 in March 2019 and 5,244 in March 2018. CBP also reported 53,623 family unit encounters last month, a 173% increase from February and the highest since the peak of the border crisis in 2019. In 2020, the pandemic kept the numbers low.
There is a seasonal element to this, but the current surge is a much more serious surge related to the incentives offered by the Biden administration’s rhetoric and policies. In the United States, single adults are now being expelled as part of a pandemic emergency response known as Title 42. However, children who illegally cross the border alone can stay. The Biden administration has also released large numbers of families to the US who have illegally crossed the border with young children. Parents with a migration background recognize this as an opportunity to gain access.
The US facilities for housing migrants are overcrowded and the border patrol is overwhelmed. The humanitarian crisis will only worsen unless policy incentives change.