U.S.-Mexico border arrests dip in August, remain at 20-year highs
Sept 15 (Reuters) – U.S. authorities arrested more than 195,000 migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico in August, according to government figures released on Wednesday, deepening the humanitarian and political challenge confronting U.S. President Joe Biden as he struggles to curb the high numbers.
While the numbers of arrests dipped slightly compared to July, they represent a increase compared with August 2019 when numbers had spiked before the coronavirus pandemic curbed migration around the world. Border arrests have hovered around 20-year highs in recent months.
Rising border crossings have created a political headache for Biden, a Democrat, with critics arguing his reversal of the hardline policies of former Republican President Donald Trump policies are fueling migration. Migration experts say poverty, violence and food insecurity are factors driving migrants to leave Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
U.S. border agents are still rapidly expelling almost all single adults and some families encountered at the border under a COVID-19 related order implemented by Trump and kept largely in place by Biden. Agents have also encountered more repeat crossers in the past year compared with recent years.
The total includes 18,534 unaccompanied migrant children and 79,754 family members traveling together, the figures show. Single adults made up about half of the total.
Reporting by Kristina Cooke and Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Ross Colvin and Karishma Singh
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