Border authorities nabbed 233,740 illegal immigrants at the southern border in November, setting a new record for that month and underscoring the chaos of the situation even before the end of the Title 42 pandemic border expulsion policy.
Homeland Security announced the numbers in a holiday weekend Friday evening data dump.
Significant surges of migrants from Nicaragua and Cuba helped offset drops in Venezuelans at the border. The number of children traveling alone also rose, as did those traveling as families.
Troy Miller, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, tried to see the bright spots in the data, pointing to relatively low numbers of migrants from Mexico and Central America.
“Individuals from Mexico and northern Central America accounted for just 30% of unique encounters in November, a significant drop from the 53% they represented a year ago, as more migrants arrive from a variety of other countries, including Cuba and Nicaragua,” he said.
Central Americans are subject to the Title 42 expulsion policy, and are easier to deal with than the Cubans and Nicaraguans, who are not subject to expulsion, and are instead usually caught then quickly released. Analysts say that release, and the subsequent foothold in the U.S., serves as incentive for more people to make the attempt.
The Border Patrol said it apprehended 206,239 illegal immigrants sneaking in between the ports of entry. CBP officers nabbed another 27,501 coming through the official border crossings without permission.
Less than 30% of the new arrivals were expelled under Title 42, as the Biden administration has wound down the tool even though it’s still in effect.
A federal judge had ordered its use to end on Dec. 21, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. issued a stay to give the high court a chance to ponder whether it will get involved in the case.