Amid partisan gridlock over immigration reform, 12,000 migrants were reportedly apprehended coming from Mexico in a single day
A record 12,000 migrants crossed the US-Mexico border on Tuesday alone, Fox News has reported. Illegal immigration has skyrocketed under US President Joe Biden, with the Republican Party pressing Democrats to tackle the crisis in exchange for more funding for the Ukraine conflict.
More than 10,200 of those who crossed did so at locations other than official points of entry, while the remainder were apprehended or turned away at official crossing points, according to Fox, which cited United States Border Patrol sources.
The number is the highest ever recorded in a single day, and comes after a monthly record of 269,735 crossings in September. An unprecedented 2.47 million people crossed the border during the 2023 fiscal year, breaking previous records set in 2022 and 2021, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
The true scale of the crisis is likely higher, as the above figures do not include those who entered the country undetected.
After years of downplaying Republicans’ border security concerns and fighting to prevent governors from tackling the issue themselves, Biden is currently seeking $13.6 billion from Congress to hire additional Border Patrol agents and immigration judges, and to pay cities struggling to accommodate migrants.
Biden’s request forms part of a $100 billion spending bill that also includes more than $60 billion in military aid to Ukraine. However, Republican lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives have vowed to block the legislation unless it includes significant changes to US immigration law, including measures denying asylum to migrants passing through “safe” countries en route to the US and speeding up the deportation process for illegal entrants.
While such changes would be unpopular with Biden’s liberal allies in Congress, the president said on Wednesday that he is willing to make “significant compromises” on border policy in order to keep the weapons flowing to Kiev.
At least 7.5 million people – more than the population of the state of Arizona – have entered the US illegally since Biden took office in 2021, according to CBP data. The influx started days before Biden’s term began, as tent cities of migrants sprang up on the Mexican side of the frontier, their inhabitants waiting for Biden to repeal almost all of former President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions by executive order.
One of Biden’s decrees reinstated the controversial policy of ‘catch and release’, whereby illegal immigrants are apprehended, detained, and then released into the US with orders to show up at court hearings at a later date. Amid a backlog of more than two million cases, the average wait time for such a hearing stood at 762 days in January.
Biden’s likely opponent in next year’s election, former President Donald Trump, has vowed to use executive powers to close the southern border “on day one” if elected.