Customs and Border Protection continued to quickly expel migrants arriving at the southern border in May, following the Trump government’s new rapid expulsion policy implemented in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Of the 21,475 migrants arrested on the southern border last month, 19,707 were removed from the US under a public health order rule put in place in March, according to data released on Friday.
The overall number of migrants arriving at the southern border increased from last month. Border arrest — a measure of illegal crossings — rose from about 16,000 in April to more than 21,000 in May.
However, the number of people arriving at the southern border is down drastically from previous year. Last May, 132,856 migrants were apprehended at the height of the 2019 migrant border crisis, which issued from families fleeing the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Demographics have also changed since last year. Most migrants currently encountered illegally crossing the border are single adult men from Mexico. In May, eighty-two per cents of CBP’s enforcement encounters were with Mexican nationals, with thirteen per cents from the Northern Triangle.
In May 2019, only sixteen per cents of migrants were from Mexico and seventy-two per cents were from the Northern Triangle, according to the agency.
Previous month, the administration extended travel restrictions and stringent border control measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even as the U.S moves toward reopening, the government is not ready to ease measures put in place in March that largely sealed off the United States to contain the spread of coronavirus. The strict rules also have the effect of continuing to contain immigration to the US.
“These policies will continue to exist at our borders until the further introduction of coronavirus into the United States has ceased to become a serious danger to public health,” said acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan in a statement last month.
“Imagine the disaster at our borders if there were a sudden migrant increase from Mexico and other countries,” he added in part.
Earlier in the week, CNN reported that the Trump government is preparing to release another set of restrictions on legal immigration, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as it argues for the reopening of the US economy, according to sources close to government officials
The government has pressed forward with a series of immigration measures that, before COVID-19, had struggled to break through. Among those shifts is the closure of the southern border to immigrants, including those seeking asylum, unless some conditions are met.
A slate of visas, which allow migrants to temporarily work in the United States, are under consideration to be suspended for a period of time, including L-1 visa for intra-company transfers, H-1Bs for worker in specialty occupations, H-2Bs for temporary non-agricultural worker and J-1 visas for exchange visitor, according to some sources familiar with plans.