Over 75,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended for crossing the border into the U.S. last month, breaking record numbers for the highest number of January apprehensions in over a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The majority of illegal immigrants who were apprehended in January 2021 were single adults, though Border Patrol agents detained 7,260 migrants traveling as family units, nearly 3,000 more than in December 2020, the WSJ reported. Some of the migrants said they are illegally crossing the border with the hope that the Biden administration will be more forgiving than the Trump administration.
“We came now in part because of the law change,” said Dennis Chaveco Velazquez, who was staying in Mexico with his family while waiting for asylum policies to change, the WSJ reported. “It seemed like there is more tolerance,” he said of their decision to illegally cross the border last week, they were released in Del Rio, Texas.
Mexico recently passed a law requiring migrant families to stay in government shelters and will not accept returning families if the facilities are at capacity, the WSJ reported. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are reporting that several of their facilities have reached capacity under COVID-19 guidelines.
The Donna Processing Facility, a tent complex, was recently opened in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to process and temporarily house migrants, the WSJ reported. The number of unaccompanied children apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley sector was up 73%, encounters of family units were down by about 1,000 people and nearly 35,000 more single adults were detained from January 2020 to January 2021, according to CBP.
Migrant families are frequently released to aid organizations when government facilities reach capacity, according to The WSJ. The aid groups help families connect with family and friends in the interior of the U.S. while they wait for their immigration cases to be adjudicated.
Tens of thousands of asylum seekers will be allowed into the U.S following the Biden administration’s announcement to end the Migrant Protection Protocols requiring migrants to remain in Mexico as their claims were processed, The WSJ reported. The administration is also expected to implement a pathway to citizenship for around 11 million illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.