The number of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border of the United States is increasing again and, if the trend continues, this October could be one of the months with the most illegal entries in a long time, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday. (DHS),, Chad Wolf.
In a speech to the Arizona Police Chiefs Association, he argued that the only reason the crossings have not reached a crisis level are the policies and procedures that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put into practice in last four years.
“If these critical tools are nullified or contradicted then the Department, and you, our collaborators at the border, will be in danger of another immigration crisis,” he added.
Last week, Acting Director of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mark Morgan reported that the seizure of undocumented immigrants at the southern border decreased 53% during fiscal 2020 compared to the previous year.
In the fiscal period that ended on September 30, the immigration authorities detained 458,088 people for illegal entry or returned to Mexico for being inadmissible, compared to 977,509 in fiscal year 2019, the agency reported.
However, the report showed that last September, border authorities captured or deemed inadmissible 57,674 people, the highest monthly figure for that month since 2012.
The 977,509 detained or rejected at the border posts in 2019 represented a record figure, which almost doubled the average of the previous years, so the figure for this past fiscal year is more in line with those of 2018 (521,090) and 2017 (415,517).
“Immigration experts predict that a growing number of foreigners will arrive at our borders in the near future due to the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in Latin America,” Wolf said.
He mentioned DHS cooperation with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by which border authorities detain and return to Mexico migrants who, in the opinion of local officials, show signs of covid -19.
“CBP is returning to Mexico, within two hours, 90% of the individuals who would otherwise be in the custody of the Border Patrol. The government’s preventive measures have protected employees at the border, the individuals in our custody, and US citizens, ”Wolf said.
He also referred to the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), a unilateral policy that the government of President Donald Trump began to apply in early 2018 and by which people who arrive at the border and are returned to Central America are They present to the authorities asking for asylum.
“Under this process, more than 65,000 foreigners have been returned to Mexico while their immigration procedures last. This promotes a more secure and orderly process along the southwestern border, and discourages individuals from making asylum claims that have no merit, ”he noted.
The Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), another agency that depends on DHS, has processed nearly 19,000 asylum applications under this program, Wolf reported.
“The immigration courts have completed 67% of the cases under the MPP and some form of relief has been granted to more than 520 people,” added Wolf, who gave details of the investigations by CBP and the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE). ) on the identity of adults who arrive with minors and declare them as their relatives.
The investigations, according to Wolf, have identified “238 fraudulent families,” the use of 329 false documents, more than 350 individuals prosecuted at the federal level for miscellaneous crimes, including human smuggling, and 50 individuals who fraudulently stated that they were minors not accompanied by adults.