Mar 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. border crossings spiked 28% last month, CBP says

A picture of people kneeling on a street
Migrants wearing T-shirts that read "Biden, please let us in" kneel and pray at the border crossing in Mexico, San Ysidro. Photo: Stringer/picture alliance via Getty Images

100,441 people attempted to cross into the U.S. along the Southwest border last month, a 28% increase since January, Customs and Border Protection senior official Troy Miller told reporters in a Wednesday call.

Why it matters: President Biden faces a mounting humanitarian crisis at the border, as children are being held for days in border stations and more migrants flee political oppression and economic devastation.

Where it stands: More than 9,400 of those stopped were unaccompanied minors, up from 5,800 unaccompanied minors stopped in January, per the New York Times.

  • The Centers for Disease Control recently allowed shelters handling child migrants to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Border crossings have been on the rise since April 2020, a CBP official on the call said.

What they're saying: Miller cited rising coronavirus infections in South and Central America, unemployment, rising violence and economic instability as driving greater numbers of migrants to the border.

  • “If you put all those issues together, you’re going to see folks that are looking for a better way of life," he said.

Go deeper: Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

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