US President Joe Biden entered the White House promising to tackle immigration challenges that have remained unsolved for decades.
Yet since he took office last year, the US has seen a record influx of migrants at its southern border, prompting criticism of the administration’s policies from across the political spectrum.
Officials are now bracing for a potentially massive influx of migrants over the summer following the expected end of Title 42, a pandemic policy that allows migrants to be quickly expelled over concerns about spreading Covid-19.
Here’s what we know about the situation.
Why the spike under Biden?
While the number of migrants at the border has been steadily increasing since April 2020, the numbers spiked sharply after Mr. Biden took office.
Economic problems and environmental disasters in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba worsened during the pandemic, forcing some to take on a long and perilous journey north. Gangs and violence have also been given as reasons why some left home.
Mr. Biden’s plan to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the US – a proposal that failed to gain enough bipartisan support to pass into law – is also blamed by conservatives for encouraging migrants.
Though he has avoided Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, Mr. Biden has repeatedly called on migrants, including asylum seekers, not to attempt the journey to the US.
US officials say they are on pace to exceed two million migrant “encounters” in the fiscal year that began in October, the fastest pace in more than 20 years.
In May alone, statistics show that 239,416 arrests were made at the border, a 2% increase from April.
There’s also been a sharp increase in the number of children crossing the border.
How do they get into the US?
Migrants cross the border in one of two ways. Those who believe they “have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution” in their home country are eligible to apply for asylum when they present themselves at a port of entry for admission into the US.
Source: El Universal