US-Mexico Border Arrests Break Record in JuneBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 07/22/2021 - 15:00
US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that in June it detained and rejected the highest monthly number of migrants at the US-Mexico border of the past 10 years. The increase in migrants is mainly due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery of the US.
In June, 188,800 migrants were intercepted at the US-Mexico border, bringing the fiscal year total to over 1 million arrests by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This figure is higher than any reported in the last decade, including 2019, which had a humanitarian and migration crisis. The current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. If arrests continue at the current rate, they will reach about 1.7 million migrants, Reuters reported. This would be the highest number of arrests since 2000.
Arrests at the US-Mexico border continued to rise since May. Currently, the US has a labor shortage that is leading numerous individuals from Mexico and Central America to head north in search of job opportunities. "We now see a greater migratory flow from Mexico to the US and its main causes are the pandemic and the recovery taking place in the US labor market," said Carlos Serrano, Chief Economist at BBVA Mexico.
The change of administration in the US was an important factor in the increase in migration. After President Joe Biden took office, the number of minors arriving at the US-Mexico border grew exponentially, resulting in a shortage of shelter space for them. According to the US authorities, the majority of those intercepted in June were adults. However, families and unaccompanied children continue to trend upward.
In recent months, US Vice President Kamala Harris visited countries in Central America in an effort to discourage migration. On June 7, Harris visited Mexico to meet with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and discuss US investment in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and immigration issues. During the visit, President López Obrador presented a social program called “Sowing life,” which seeks to address the roots of migration and can be replicated in other countries. “If you have a job in a safe community, you no longer need to migrate. This is an option, an alternative,” said President López Obrador.
This month, the US is running over 30,000 radio spots in Central America in an effort to discourage migration. The ads also seek to correctly inform about the dangers of migration and highlight that "it is not easier to cross the border."
"The evidence tells us that if you want to change the narrative, it has to come from people's trusted networks. That's the bottom line," said Andrew Selee, President of the Migration Policy Institute. In addition to the radio spots, the US is promoting a migration campaign across multiple platforms. The ads are in Spanish and in five indigenous languages of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. However, it is not clear how effective the ad campaign has been to date.