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Arrests at the US border are decreasing, contrary to the usual spring peak trend

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico fell more than 6% in April to the fourth lowest month of the Biden administration, authorities said Wednesday, in contrast to the usual increase in spring.

U.S. authorities have largely attributed the decline to tighter controls in Mexico, particularly at stations where migrants board freight trains. Mexico will allow no more than 4,000 illegal crossings per day into the United States, Alicia Barcena, Mexico’s foreign secretary, told reporters Tuesday, compared with more than 10,000 apprehensions by the Border Patrol on some days in December.

Migrants were stopped 128,884 times in April, up from 137,480 in March and just off a half-record 249,737 in December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. While still historically high, the sharp drop in arrests since late December is good news for President Joe Biden on a key issue that has dogged him in election-year polls.

San Diego became the busiest of nine Border Patrol sectors along the Mexican border for the first time since the 1990s with 37,370 people, replacing Tucson, Arizona.

Troy Miller, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said increased controls, including expulsions, and cooperation with other countries had led to lower numbers.

“As a result of this increased enforcement, encounters at the southwest border have not increased, contrary to previous trends. We will remain vigilant in the face of constantly changing migration patterns,” he said.

Authorities allowed entry to 41,400 people in April at land crossings with Mexico through an online appointment app called CBP One, bringing the total to more than 591,000 since its introduction in January 2023.

The United States is also allowing up to 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans if they apply online with a financial sponsor and arrive on commercial flights. About 435,000 people entered the country through April, including 91,000 Cubans, 166,700 Haitians, 75,700 Nicaraguans and 101,200 Venezuelans.

California Daily Newspapers

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