July 9 (UPI) -- About 40 percent more migrants were detained at the Mexico-U.S. border in June than the month before, but that number is down significantly from the same time in 2019, records from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
Authorities made 32,512 arrests and detentions along the border in June, an increase from 23,142 in May. The arrests were nearly double the 16,969 arrests reported in April.
CBP pointed out though, June's figures marked a 65 percent drop from the 104,000 encounters the same time in 2019.
That was roughly the same time the Trump administration proposed rules making it more difficult for migrants to receive asylum in the United States. The rules gave the government more power to deny requests for asylum and other protections.
On Thursday, the administration published a new rule citing danger from the coronavirus pandemic as justification for denying immigrants asylum in the United States.
"While the number of encounters last month are not a surprise, this increase is still extremely concerning as we continue to battle the invisible enemy: COVID-19," CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan said.
"Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to build the border wall system and enforce CDC policies aimed at protecting the health of Americans. At the end of the day, CBP will continue to prevent and deter illegal crossings that endanger the life of the American public," Morgan said.