Border crossings from Mexico into the U.S. have begun to climb in recent weeks as thousands of migrant families have made their way to the area, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
While Customs and Border Patrol has not released exact figures, the agency has said crossings have been increasing for months. Citing the difficulty of holding migrants during the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden administration has ordered CBP to reinstate the so-called “catch-and-release” policy, in which illegal immigrants can be released into cities along the southern border after apprehension.
At least 1,000 migrants have been allowed to cross into Texas in recent days, local border activists told the Times. The volunteer non-profit Jewish Family Services of San Diego has also seen an uptick in the number of migrants seeking the organization’s aid.
There has been a significant increase in asylum seekers arriving, and we know that the numbers are only going to keep rising dramatically,” Kate Clark, senior director for immigration services at JFD, told the Times.
Meanwhile, migrant families have streamed into northern Mexico, in many cases buoyed by what they believed would be looser immigration policies during the Biden administration. Biden officials have cautioned against making the journey to the U.S. border, however many migrants have chosen to come anyway.
“The migrants are starting not to trust advocates because we told them the Biden administration would start processing them shortly after inauguration — because that was the impression we were getting from the transition team,” said lawyer Erika Pinheiro, who works with Al Otro Lado, a group that provides legal services to migrants in the U.S. and Tijuana.
“After the executive orders came out with no substantive information, many of the migrants are angry with us and have started listening to smugglers and wild rumors,” Pinheiro added.
President Biden has signed several executive orders aiming to undue Trump administration immigration policies. Among others, Biden has taken steps to rescind the “Remain in Mexico” policy, by which asylum seekers were required to wait in Mexico while their cases were processed in the U.S.