Border numbers in July dropped for the second month in a row
Last week Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released their July data, which showed a 4% drop in overall encounters - the second consecutive month to see a decrease in border arrivals. The agency continues to report high levels of repeat crossings, which inflate the total number (199,976 encounters) compared to the number of unique individuals encountered (162,792 individuals). This high recidivism rate has been the new normal due to the continuation of Title 42, and the fiscal year is expected to finish with over 2 million total border encounters. While calls for the continuation of Title 42 often defend the policy as the main deterrent against illegal border crossings, it’s important to note that this record breaking year for crossings has occurred with Title 42 fully in place.
Also of note in the CBP data is that the number of migrants arriving from countries other than Mexico and the Northern Triangle continues to rise. 48% of those encountered in July were not from Mexico or the Northern Triangle; a significant number of migrants continue to arrive from Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Asylum seekers from these countries are not permitted to be returned to Mexico under Title 42, so as those numbers increase we can expect to see Title 42 applied less frequently.
CBS News also reports that there has been a gradual increase to the number of asylum seekers who have been exempted from Title 42 in recent months. In July, CBP admitted 11,574 asylum seekers at ports of entry, a 32% increase from June. There has also been a significant increase in the number of Haitians who have been processed: there was an 83% increase in July compared to May with over 5,000 admitted for processing. Conversely, only 348 Haitians were arrested for illegal entry in July, a 95% drop from May. Less than 100 Haitians were expelled in July, a significant drop from more than 18,000 expelled between September 2021 and May 2022.
“Remain in Mexico” program begins to wind down
Now that the Supreme Court ruling allowing the Biden administration to end the “Remain in Mexico” program has been certified, migrants enrolled in the program are slowly being released to pursue their claims in the United States. Kate Morrissey of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that 1 to 3 people per day are being removed daily from the program in San Diego. According to TRAC, there were over 5,000 asylum seekers enrolled into the new iteration of “Remain in Mexico,” also called MPP, as of May 2022. It remains unclear how quickly the administration will be able to process these individuals and allow them to enter the United States.
WHO Director-General decries the lack of help for Tigray
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke out at a press briefing last week concerning the ongoing crisis in Tigray and the lack of aid from global leaders. The WHO chief cited the ongoing humanitarian crisis in which 6 million people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia have been cut off from the rest of the world while being “under siege” of the Ethiopian government. Aid to the region has been slow to arrive and journalists have not been allowed in - the region’s primary hospital was not even able to begin a COVID-19 vaccination campaign until this July. The conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia began in November 2020.