Venezuelan migrants are crossing the southern border along the Rio Grande into Texas in record numbers as they look to escape the political, social and economic crisis in their home country, AP reports.
By the numbers: A total of 7,484 Venezuelans were approached by U.S. Border Patrol agents in May at the southern border — "more than all 14 years for which records exist," AP writes.
Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.
Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.
Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to the border on Friday will play out amid the Biden administration widening shake-up of U.S. border policy and leadership.
Driving the news: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) tells Axios that he's been advised by a border official that as soon as mid-July the Biden administration will end all use of Title 42, a Trump-era policy citing coronavirus as rationale to block migrants at the border.
The Justice Department on Wednesday threw out a Trump-era ruling that essentially blocked access to asylum for immigrants fleeing domestic violence in their home countries.
Why it matters: Violence against women is on the rise in Latin America. "[A]round the world, in Central America and elsewhere, women struggle to have governments ensure, or in some cases recognize, their right to protection," Human Rights Watch writes.
There are now more than 1.3 million cases awaiting a decision from an immigration judge — double the caseload from 2017 — to determine whether migrants can legally stay in the U.S., according to newly released data reviewed by Axios.
Why it matters: The rapidly growing backlog is another sign of a broken immigration system. Migrants have been waiting an average of nearly 950 days for a court decision — two-and-a-half years of living in limbo.
Maritime smuggling of people to the U.S. is on the rise toward California and Florida, with two recent capsized boats near San Diego and Key West showing the deadly consequences.
Why it matters: Experts stress that for several years toughened security has not decreased migration, just made adult migrants seek other, more dangerous paths.
During her first in-person meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the U.S. and Mexico are "embarking on a new era," with greater cooperation between the two countries on immigration, AP reports.
Why it matters: Harris was tapped by Biden to work on fixing the migrant surge at the southern border, a crisis that has threatened to overshadow some of the administration's early successes.
U.S. border officials have quietly deployed a new surveillance app to collect and store information on asylum seekers before they enter the United States, the Los Angeles Times was the first to report.
Why it matters: The kind of technology used in the app, which relies on facial recognition, geolocation and cloud computing, remains controversial and has raised alarms about unchecked surveillance and data collection, experts told the newspaper.
President Biden is considering the return of an immigration policy that allows the U.S. government to more quickly deport families who illegally cross the border from Mexico, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios' Stef Kight.
Why it matters: Resuming the practice of so-called expedited removals for families could be a divisive move among some Democrats. It would shift the administration toward a more deterrence-based approach, used to different degrees by the past four presidents and embraced especially by the Trump administration.
The Justice and Homeland Security departments on Friday announced plans to fast-track cases of families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in immigration court.
The state of play: Families that are stopped at the border beginning Friday will be placed in a "dedicated docket" process, aimed at expediting proceedings to determine whether they can remain in the U.S. These cases are known for getting backlogged and taking years to reach a conclusion.