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Migrants attempting to cross from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Photo: Nick Ut/Getty Images

The number of migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year is already the most since 2006 — with four months left to go, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The numbers quantify a lingering problem. Nearly 900,000 migrants were stopped by the Border Patrol from Oct. 1 to May 31. There also were more than 170,000 apprehensions last month — in line with 20-year records set in March and April.

  • In addition, there continue to be significant numbers of migrants from more distant nations such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti, the data show.

The big picture: The Biden administration has successfully managed to quickly release unaccompanied minors from Border Patrol stations after a backup forced thousands to wait for days earlier in the year.

  • It also has managed to slowly decrease the total number of kids being held in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Still, despite these efforts and the continued use of a Trump-era public health order to quickly turn back families and adults to Mexico, migrants continue to flock to the border.
  • Some migrants make multiple attempts to illegally cross the border — especially those kicked back to Mexico under the public health order. They are counted each time they are apprehended by Border Patrol.

By the numbers: The majority of border-crossers continue to come from Mexico (more than 40%) and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

  • That said, some Border Patrol sectors in the southwest United States are seeing far more people from other, more distant nations.
  • In just five sectors, more than 32,000 Ecuadorians have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year. About 13,000 Brazilians have been stopped in the Yuma, Arizona, sector alone, on top of about 7,000 in two other sectors, according to the data.
  • There were fewer than 40,000 migrants not from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador encountered by border officials for the entire fiscal year of 2018.

Between the lines: It's unclear from the preliminary data the exact number of migrants who attempted to cross the border originating from countries other than Mexico and the Northern Triangle, but it could be more than 50,000.

What to watch: Vice President Kamala Harris was in Guatemala on Monday before traveling to Mexico for meetings Tuesday as she leads the administration's effort to address the root causes of this migration.

  • They include crime, government corruption and lackluster responses to natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic throughout the Northern Triangle.
  • The administration also is asking Mexico to ramp up its own migration enforcement and take in more families rejected by the U.S. under the public health order, BuzzFeed reported.

Go deeper

Sep 7, 2021 - World

Mexico's supreme court decriminalizes abortion

A woman takes part during a demonstration by feminist group Marea Verde to demand the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico. Photo: Rodolfo Flores/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexico's supreme court on Tuesday declared that it is unconstitutional to penalize abortion, with magistrates voting unanimously to decriminalize the procedure in the country.

Why it matters: Mexico — now the fifth Latin American country to decriminalize abortion — is now the most populous country in the region to allow the practice, the Washington Post reports. The country has the world's second-largest Catholic population, after Brazil.

El Salvador buys 400 bitcoin ahead of making it legal currency

President Nayib Bukele in the Legislative Assembly building in San Salvador, El Salvador, in June. Photo: Camilo Freedman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

El Salvador bought its first 400 bitcoins on Monday, and President Nayib Bukele pledged to buy "a lot more" ahead of adopting the cryptocurrency as legal tender.

Why it matters: El Salvador will become on Tuesday the first country to formally adopt bitcoin — marking the "biggest test" the digital currency has faced in its 12-year history, per Bloomberg.

23 mins ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.