(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded almost half as many “encounters” with illegal Nicaraguan migrants on the southwest border in the first two months of Fiscal Year 2022 as it did for the entire FY 2021 – and ten times more encounters than for the entire FY 2020.
In October and November this year, CBP recorded 22,843 apprehensions of migrants from Nicaragua. By contrast, 50,109 encounters with Nicaraguans were recorded for the whole of FY 2021, and just 2,291 for the whole of FY 2020.
According to November data released by the CBP on Friday, a record-high 173,620 encounters with migrants along the southwest border were recorded during November, a 140 percent increase from the 72,113 in November 2020. Numbers for the previous two Novembers, in 2019 and 2018, were 42,643 and 62,469 respectively.
The CBP provides data on “encounters” with illegal migrants rather than the number of actual individuals apprehended, because it says many migrants make multiple attempts to cross the border and get into the United States.
While there were 173,620 encounters recorded in November, the number of “unique individuals encountered” was 127,653, it said. Twenty-five percent of the encounters involved individuals who had had at least one prior encounter with agents during the previous 12-month period.
As expected, Mexicans accounted for the largest number of encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border last month – 63,152, up from 44,164 in November 2020, and 22,255 in November 2019.
Migrants from one of the three Northern Triangle countries, Guatemala, were next – 20,342 encounters in November, almost double those of November 2020.
Venezuela accounted for the next biggest contingent, with 20,341 encounters – a significant (10,954 percent) increase from the same month a year earlier, when just 184 apprehensions of Venezuelans were recorded.
From another of the Northern Triangle countries, Honduras, 19,841 encounters were reported, more than twice the number of those reported in November 2020.
Migrants from the third Northern Triangle country, El Salvador, made up 9,626 encounters in November, a more than twofold jump from the same month a year earlier.
For the limited number of other nationalities that are identified in the data released by CBP, those accounting for significantly higher number of encounters in November than the previous two Novembers include:
Haiti (up 946 percent from Nov. 2020 and 121 percent from Nov. 2019)
Russia (up 2,800 percent from Nov. 2020 and 2,416 percent from Nov. 2019)
Colombia (up 4,782 percent from Nov. 2020 and 4,928 percent from Nov. 2019)
Cuba (up 315 percent from Nov. 2020 and 458 percent from Nov. 2019)
Brazil (up 2,938 percent from Nov. 2020 and 309 percent from Nov. 2019)
Nicaragua (up 3,410 percent from Nov. 2020 and 4,240 percent from Nov. 2019)
Venezuela (up 10,954 percent from Nov. 2020 and 3,359 percent from Nov. 2019)
UN unhappy over ‘Remain in Mexico’ reinstatement
Upon taking office, President Biden suspended the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which unauthorized migrants were returned to Mexico to await the outcome of their immigration proceedings.
A Texas-based federal judge in August ordered its resumption.
In late October, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a revised version of the policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), even while conceding that it “likely contributed to reduced migratory flows.”
“But it did so by imposing substantial and unjustifiable human costs on the individuals who were exposed to harm while waiting in Mexico,” Mayorkas contended at the time.
Last Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the August ruling maintaining the Trump-era policy.
At a press briefing in Geneva on Friday, a spokesperson for the office of the U.N. high commissioner for human rights expressed concern about the resumption of the policy.
Ravina Shamdasani was answering questions relating to the deaths earlier this month of 54 U.S.-bound migrants, mostly from Central America, killed when the truck they were traveling in overturned in southern Mexico.
“We are concerned about the re-implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocol and the risk that it poses on the already stretched humanitarian capacity of Mexico to receive migrants,” she said.
“We are concerned that any kind of heightened security procedures to deal with migration will only drive migrants further into unsafe routes, and we are afraid that we’ll be seeing more resort to the dangerous routes and to smuggling networks.”
Shamdasani said the U.N. human rights office called on the U.S. and Mexican authorities to “prevent further deaths, through an increased effort to tackle the underlying causes of irregular migration, such as violence, insecurity, poverty, social exclusion, and climate change, which are compelling migrants to leave their countries of origin in the first place.”