Arrests at the southern border hit record levels over the last year, with most migrants hailing from México or Central América, but thousands of people who tried to cross into the United States traveled from South América, Eastern Europe and as far away as India.
By Forbes – Joe Walsh
Oct 22, 2021
Border Patrol apprehended about 1.66 million people at the U.S. – México border in the 2021 fiscal year, which ended in September, making it the busiest year on record.
More than 608,000 arrestees – or 36.6% of last year’s total – were Méxican citizens, and over 40% were from Honduras (308,931 arrests), Guatemala (279,033) and El Salvador (95,930), a trio of countries south of México called the “Northern Triangle.”
Just under 50,000 were from Nicaragua, another Central American country, a jump from around 2,000 in 2020 and around 13,000 in 2019 according to Border Patrol figures.
Hundreds of thousands of people hailing from South América were caught at the border, including nearly 57,000 from Brazil (up from just 7,000 in 2020 and 18,000 in 2019), more than 95,000 from Ecuador (a sevenfold increase over the previous two years) and almost 48,000 from Venezuela (well above 1,000 in 2020 and 2,000 in 2019).
Attempted border-crossings by Haitian citizens exceeded 45,000, which is a tenfold jump from the previous year, including more than 15,000 Haitian migrants who crossed in Texas and stayed in a makeshift camp under a bridge last month.
Some 38,000 Cuban migrants were apprehended at the U.S.- México border in 2021, more than three times the totals for 2020 and 2019.
A smaller contingent of migrants traveled from the other side of the world: Some 4,000 were from Romania, almost 1,400 were from Turkey and 2,600 were from India – though the number of migrants apprehended from India actually decreased from more than 7,000 in 2019 and 2018.
The number of border arrests doesn’t necessarily match up with the actual number of migrants trying to cross. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. began expelling many border-crossers within hours of getting arrested, causing repeat offenses to increase dramatically. Plus, the Department of Homeland Security estimates that its apprehension rate has soared from under 40% in the early 2000s to nearly 70% in 2018. And 2020’s border figures were unusually low, possibly because of the pandemic, making year-to-year comparisons tricky.
The number of attempted border-crossers who hail from countries other than México has increased dramatically in the last 20 years. Their reasons for traveling thousands of miles to the U.S.-México border vary. Many Central Americans have sought asylum from endemic gang violence, Venezuela’s economic turmoil has fueled a refugee crisis, Covid-related economic upheaval has reportedly pushed some people to migrate, and some Romanian migrants are members of Europe’s long-persecuted Roma ethnic group, PRI’s The World reported. In many cases, people left their home country years before arriving at the border: For example, some Haitian migrants moved to South América after the country’s 2010 earthquake.
Read More: Forbes – Migrants from India, Romania, Venezuela and other Far-Flung places contribute to record – Breaking arrests at U.S. – México border