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Border Patrol breaks all-time record in migrant arrests in FY 2021

Border Patrol breaks all-time record in migrant arrests in FY 2021
Migrants from Haiti cross the Rio Grande, on the border of Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, in September. File Photo by Miguel Sierra/EPA-EFE

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Border Patrol broke an all-time record with nearly 1.66 million arrests on the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021.

The agency released the year-end data on arrests Friday, covering fiscal year 2021, which ran from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.

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Authorities encountered some 1.73 million unauthorized migrants along the southwest border and made 1.66 million arrests for the fiscal year.

In September, the agency made 186,515 arrests, which was down from 196,514 in August.

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The previous record was set in 2000 at about 1.64 million arrests, according to Border Patrol data dating back to 1960.

Republicans have blamed the surge on President Joe Biden's immigration policies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Immigrant advocates and some immigrant officials advocates previously told ABC News the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Title 42 authority, which allows the government to prevent entry of migrants during a public health emergency, has increased repeat offenders. Trump enacted the policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which Biden has continued.

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Immigration officials have also blamed the "Remain in Mexico" policy, which Trump enacted in 2018 to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed.

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Biden's administration had scrapped the "Remain in Mexico" order, but said last week it will reinstate the immigration policy to comply with the Supreme Court order in August that ruled they had to reinstate it by mid-November.

The Supreme Court said the Biden administration failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that rescinding the policy was not "arbitrary and capricious."

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Still, even with the surge in Haitian migrants last month, the fiscal year data also shows that overall enforcement actions in fiscal year 2021 have declined in recent months. Enforcement actions peaked at 213,593 in July and declined to 209,840 in August and further to 192,001 in September.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said these declining numbers show the current administration's strategy is working, ABC News reported.

After the peak in July, Mayorkas delivered remarks in Brownsville, Texas, blaming the record high on the withdrawal of humanitarian resources and "cruel policies" under the last administration.

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"Tragically, former President [Donald] Trump slashed our international assistance to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras," Mayorkas said. "Slashed the resources that we were contributing to address the root causes of irregular migration. And another reason is the end of the cruel polices of the past administration and the restoration of the rule of laws of this country that Congress has passed, including our asylum laws that provide humanitarian relief."

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