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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios. Note: South American nations included are Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador

Border officials are encountering migrants from more distant countries, rather than just Mexico or the Northern Triangle, according to the latest public figures from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

Why it matters: These longer journeys to the U.S.-Mexico border underscore the desperate situation many migrants face in their home countries, as well as the multi-dimensional diplomatic, economic and moral challenge the United States faces trying to control their flow north.

  • There tends to be an uptick in migrants from further-flung nations during border surges.
  • But the number of encounters with migrants from countries other than Mexico or the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have surpassed the peak of the 2019 crisis now for four months in a row.
  • The far-flung journeys increase the dangers faced by the migrants as well as their risk of exploitation by smugglers.

By the numbers: At the start of the year, migrants from Nicaragua and a handful of South American nations made up just 6% of people encountered by border officials. Last month, they accounted for 18% — three times more.

  • There's been a rise in migrants traveling from South America through the treacherous Darién Gap into Panama, as Axios previously reported.
  • While the percentage of encounters with migrants who are Haitian or Cuban has hovered around 4% recently, the number is 2.5 times the figure from January.
  • Border officials had nearly 9,000 encounters with Haitians and Cubans last month.

Go deeper

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

U.S. begins deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants, many of them Haitian, cross the Rio Grande to get food and supplies near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Ciudad Acuna on Sept. 18. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. commenced deportation flights to Haiti on Sunday for the thousands of Haitian migrants seeking shelter in the small Texas border town of Del Rio, a source told the Associated Press.

Driving the news: More than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, have been staying in a crowded temporary camp with poor conditions under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

By the numbers: Haitian emigration

Expand chart
Data: CBP; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The number of Haitians crossing the U.S.-Mexico border had been rising even before their country's president was assassinated in July and the island was struck by an earthquake a month later.

Why it matters: A spike during the past few weeks — leaving thousands waiting in a makeshift camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas — has prompted a crackdown and deportations by the Biden administration.

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