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A group of Brazilian migrants who just crossed the border in Sunland Park, New Mexico. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Border Patrol has made more than 1 million arrests of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border since last October, after June set a 20-year record for that month, according to government data released on Friday.

Why it matters: The surge in migrants attempting to cross the border has continued — inciting Republicans to blame the Biden administration, while Democrats and immigration advocates pressure the president to undo strict Trump-era enforcement policies.

By the numbers: The last time Border Patrol made more than 1 million arrests was in 2006, according to agency data, and there are still three months left to report for this fiscal year. Agents made more than 178,000 arrests in June.

  • An uptick in people attempting to cross the border over and over again has contributed to the high numbers. Repeat crossings have been driven in part by the continued use of a Trump-era public health order, called Title 42, to immediately return border-crossers to Mexico, experts and officials have said.
    • Despite 1 million arrests, CBP officials said in a release that 455,000 unique individuals have been encountered by border officials this fiscal year — lower than at the same point in 2019. 34% of people encountered last month had tried to cross at least one other time in the past year.
  • The majority of crossings are still single adults, most of whom are subject to Title 42.
  • The Biden administration has been under pressure to end the use of the policy, and is considering doing so as soon as this month. The administration stopped applying the rule to unaccompanied kids and has allowed other vulnerable migrants to receive humanitarian exceptions.

The number of unaccompanied kids caught attempting to cross in June was down compared to March and April of this year, but the number remains higher than any other month recorded of any other year.

  • The government has struggled to handle the influx of kids, thousands of whom earlier this year were forced to wait in border patrol facilities unsuited for minors for longer than the legal 72 hours.
  • The agency in charge of their care has since set up multiple temporary shelters to hold more kids, and have picked up the pace of releasing them to family members or other sponsors in the U.S.
  • Still, the number of kids in Border Patrol custody has creeped back up to over 1,000 as of data released on Thursday. The administration managed to get the number down to a low of 421 in mid-May.

Migrants coming from nations other than Mexico, Guatemala, Hondura and El Salvador rose yet again last month.

  • More than 46,000 arrests of migrants were made from these more distant countries, up from 11,600 in February.

Between the lines: Natural disasters, economic devastation, gang violence, political oppression and perceptions that President Biden would be more welcoming than his predecessor have driven people to flee their homes for the U.S.

Go deeper

Murder rates in border cities lower than national average

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Even as the nation's homicide rate jumped in 2020 amid rising gun violence, the murder rate in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S. border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: The wide disparity between majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities and other similar-size cities further north conflicts with images and myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and disarray.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

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