ARIZONA IMMIGRATION NEWS

Illegal border crossings from Mexico plunge after a record-high December

Feb 14, 2024, 3:45 AM | Updated: 6:29 am

Immigrants walk towards the U.S.-Mexico border wall after crossing the Rio Grande into El Paso, Tex...

Immigrants walk towards the U.S.-Mexico border wall after crossing the Rio Grande into El Paso, Texas, on Feb. 1, 2024, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arrests for illegal crossings on the U.S. border with Mexico fell by half in January from record highs in December to the third lowest month of Joe Biden’s presidency, authorities said Tuesday.

The sharp drop is welcome news for the White House, even if it proves temporary, as immigration becomes one of the biggest issues in this year’s presidential election, with exit polls showing it is the top concern among many Republican voters in early primaries. House Republicans voted Tuesday to impeach U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his oversight of the border.

Seasonal declines and heightened enforcement by the U.S. and its allies led to the sharp decline, said Troy Miller, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. U.S. authorities have repeatedly praised Mexico for a crackdown launched in late December.

Border Patrol arrests totaled 124,220 in January, down 50% from 249,735 in December, the highest monthly tally on record. Arrests of Venezuelans plunged 91% to 4,422 from 46,920 in December.

Numbers ebb and flow, and the January decline may prove tenuous. Panama reported that 36,001 migrants traversed the notorious Darien Gap in January, up 46% from December. The vast majority who cross the Panamanian jungle are Venezuelans headed to the United States, with considerable numbers from Haiti, China, Ecuador and Colombia.

“We continue to experience serious challenges along our border which surpass the capacity of the immigration system,” Miller said.

Tucson, Arizona, was again the busiest sector for illegal crossings with 50,565 arrests, down 37% from December, followed by San Diego. Arrests in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector, which includes the city of Eagle Pass, the main focus of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border enforcement efforts, plummeted 76% from December to 16,712, the lowest since December 2021. Arrests in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, dropped 60% to 7,340, the lowest since July 2020.

The only months of Biden’s presidency with fewer border arrests were in June 2023, after pandemic-related asylum restrictions lifted, and February 2021, his first full month in office.

During an interview with The Associated Press in January, Mayorkas said that Mexico’s immigration enforcement agency didn’t have the funds in December to carry out enforcement actions but when that was rectified, there was an immediate and substantial drop in the number of migrants encountered at the southern border.

When including migrants who were allowed to enter the United States under new or expanded legal pathways, migrant encounters totaled 176,205 in January after topping 300,000 for the first time in December. U.S. authorities admitted about 45,000 people at land crossings with Mexico in January through an online appointment system called CBP One, bringing the total to 459,118 since it was introduced a year earlier.

Arizona Immigration News

Two Tucson men sentenced after highway death of 17-year-old...

KTAR.com

Two Arizona human smugglers sentenced for death of migrant

Two Tucson men were sentenced last month for their roles in the death of a 17-year-old migrant in 2022, authorities said.

7 hours ago

Federal border response funds...

Nick Borgia

Arizona officials announce nearly $55M in federal border response funds

AZ Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema announced nearly $55M in federal border response funds to support Arizona's border communities.

3 days ago

File photo of Border Patrol agent in Arizona...

Damon Allred

Former U.S. border patrol agent sentenced to 18 years in prison for bribery and drug smuggling

A Buckeye man who served as a United States border patrol agent was sentenced to 18 years in prison and five years of supervised release.

4 days ago

Asylum seekers board a bus to a shelter in New York City on May 18, 2023. Arizona leaders say feder...

Kevin Stone

Arizona leaders urge federal officials to properly fund state’s border shelter services

Arizona leaders are urging the Biden Administration to make sure the state gets its fair share of the $650 million recently allocated for border shelter services -- and soon.

21 days ago

(Getty Images Photo)...

Jim Sharpe

We need an Easter basket of bucks delivered to the border—before Sunday

The recently passed budget signed by Joe Biden has border money in it, but Arizona needs that money right now, says KTAR News host Jim Sharpe.

23 days ago

FILE - George Alan Kelly enters court for his preliminary hearing in Nogales Justice Court in Nogal...

Associated Press

Trial underway for Arizona border rancher charged with killing migrant on his property

A 75-year-old Arizona rancher went on trial Friday in the fatal shooting of a migrant on his property near Mexico.

26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Illegal border crossings from Mexico plunge after a record-high December