President, experts say Spring spike in border crossings are ‘normal’

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HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The situation at the U.S.- Mexico border has gotten national attention in recent weeks as there has been an increase in the number of immigrants crossing.

During his first press conference held Thursday, President Joe Biden answered questions about the increase in the number of immigrants on the southern border.

Biden described the increase in the number of immigrants crossing the border as normal.

“This happens every single solitary year,” he said.

Data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show that during the previous two non-pandemic years, peak crossings took place in late Spring.

Alejandro San Miguel, an immigration attorney in Brownsville, agreed. He told KVEO the number of immigrants crossing the border tends to peak in the Spring.

A graph showing the number of encounters BCP had in previous fiscal years. Blue is 2021, Orange is 2019, Gray is 2018, Bronze is 2020.

“The weather conditions being favorable for persons, specifically if they’re doing long walks, let’s say from central or south America,” said San Miguel.

Both data provided by CBP and information from a source familiar with the situation corroborate the fact that seeing elevated numbers of attempted border crossings this time of year was normal.

When asked about the increase of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, President Biden defended his administration saying nothing has drastically changed between his administration and President Trump’s.

“Twenty-eight percent increase of children at the border under my administration. 31 percent in the last year, in 2019 before the pandemic in the Trump administration,” said President Biden.

On the CBP website, there is a chart showing the number of ‘enforcement actions’ taken by CBP over the past four years. The chart shows an increase of CBP enforcement actions from 2018 to 2019.

So far in fiscal year 2021, there has been two thirds as many actions taken compared to 2018. However, CBP has reached that number in only one third of the time. 

Chart from the CBP website showing the number of actions taken.

While it’s too early to say if the increased amount of attempted crossings compared to 2019 will continue throughout the fiscal year 2021, Alejandro San Miguel said he believes the actions of the Biden administration are having an impact on the number of immigrants, even if they aren’t intended to.

“Change in speech and the way that the administration is approaching the issue is making people maybe think that they should be less scared,” said San Miguel.

He said that he doesn’t believe there’s an easy fix to the situation.

San Miguel told KVEO that he thought a good first step would be offering more assistance to the countries the people are fleeing from “so it doesn’t turn into people just fleeing the country because they want to give a better lifestyle for their children.”

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