Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico soared 33% from June to July, reversing course after a plunge that followed new asylum restrictions in May. The Biden administration insisted that its carrot-and-stick approach of expanding legal routes while imposing more punitive measures on those who enter illegally is working. It noted that illegal crossings were still down 27% from July 2022 and were well under the days that preceded the new immigrations rules. The increase from June to July was driven by a larger presence of families traveling with children — nearly doubling to 60,161 arrests, reports the Associated Press.
Traffic shifted to remote and hot parts of Arizona, which officials blamed on false advertising by smugglers that it was easier to cross there and be released in the U.S. The Tucson area recorded 39,215 arrests in July to become the busiest of nine geographic sectors along the border, up 60% from June and more than double from July 2022. John Modlin, the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector chief, said several large groups were found the first weekend of August, including one of 533 people from 17 countries near the remote town of Lukeville. “We remain vigilant and continue to adjust our operational plans to maximize enforcement efforts against those individuals who do not use lawful pathways or processes, knowing that smugglers continue to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals,” said acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Troy Miller. The Border Patrol stopped migrants 132,652 times in July along the southern border, up from 99,545 times in June but down from 181,834 times in July 2022.