Highest Monthly Total Ever Recorded
Between December 1 and December 31, over 302,000 migrants were documented attempting to cross the US southern border, marking the highest total for a single month ever recorded. This also marks the first time migrant encounters have exceeded 300,000. Since the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, more than 785,000 encounters have been reported, the highest first quarter total ever recorded.
Republicans have pointed fingers at the administration’s policies, particularly the ending of Trump-era policies, as the reason for the surge. On the other hand, the administration argues that they are dealing with a hemisphere-wide challenge and require more funding and immigration reform legislation from Congress.
Migrants Sent Nationwide
Officials in Texas have been sending the migrants nationwide, bringing the issue to the doorsteps of various cities. On December 31, a plane-load of migrants arrived at Chicago Rockford International Airport in Illinois. Mayor Michael Gonnelli reported that bus loads of migrants heading to New York City have been stopping at his town’s train station, attempting to bypass the city’s regulations on migrant arrivals. Gonnelli expressed his concern over bus operators finding a way to circumvent the requirements of the executive order by dropping migrants at the train station in Secaucus and allowing them to continue to their final destination.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas participated in a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The joint statement released following the meeting affirmed the countries’ commitments to “orderly, humane and regular migration,” as well as their efforts to address the root causes of migration, disrupt human smuggling, and promote private investment. Additionally, the statement mentioned discussions on the “benefits” of granting some form of legal status for illegal immigrants already in the US, including those protected by the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order signed by President Barack Obama, which shielded some illegal immigrants who arrived in the US as minors.