Illegal crossings along the U.S. southern border jumped more than 30 percent in July, according to preliminary U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained by the Washington Post, dealing a blow to President Biden’s immigration enforcement strategy at a time when his policies are facing multiple legal challenges. U.S. agents made more than 130,000 arrests along the Mexico border last month, up from 99,545 in June. Authorities allowed an additional 50,000 migrants to cross into the U.S. in July, primarily through Biden administration programs allowing asylum seekers to schedule appointments at U.S. ports of entry using the CBP One mobile application.
The increase in illegal crossings was most pronounced in the deserts of southern Arizona, despite daytime temperatures that often surpassed 110 degrees. U.S. agents there made 40,000 arrests in July, the highest one-month total for the Tucson sector in 15 years. Erin Waters, a spokesperson for CBP, said illegal crossings remain lower than the levels recorded in the months before May 11, when the Biden administration ended the pandemic policy known as Title 42. Authorities had used the policy for three years to expel border crossers to Mexico or their home countries. The Biden administration’s new enforcement plan relies on a blend of incentives and deterrents at the border that allow many more migrants to enter the U.S. lawfully, with penalties and deportations for those who cross illegally. Biden officials issued new rules making it easier to deport asylum seekers if they cross the border illegally or decline to seek protection in another country they pass through en route to the U.S.