Amid the escalating crisis at the southern border of the United States, there has been a dramatic upswing in the number of individuals arriving from regions outside of Central and South America over the past year.
According to arrest data obtained from the US Customs and Border Patrol (CPB), during fiscal year 2023, the influx of illegal immigrants originating from countries such as China and India, among others, has surged to a staggering 214,000 individuals.
This represents a threefold increase from the 70,000 recorded in 2022, and a substantial rise from the 19,000 reported in 2021. Enrique Lucero, the head of the migrant support unit within the Tijuana, Mexico government, spoke with the Wall Street Journal, describing the remarkable surge in migration from Asia and Africa.
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He highlighted the increasingly diverse composition of the migrants, remarking, “These days, we are dealing with 120 nationalities and 60 different languages.” Human smugglers have leveraged social media platforms to coordinate with migrants, facilitating what is commonly referred to as a “donkey flight” to countries in Latin America.
These nations often have minimal or no visa requirements for entry. Once the migrants arrive on Latin American soil, they are transported northward towards the US southern border, as confirmed by Mexican authorities. One individual, Mohamed Aweineny, shared his journey from West Africa, which led him through Turkey to Colombia.
“I followed the internet to learn how to get to America without a visa,” he explained.
A senior official within the Biden Administration acknowledged the strain that the surge from other regions has placed on their operations.
They noted that the absence of longstanding ties or agreements with many countries hinders the process of facilitating swift removals but assured, “We are actively working on that.”
In October, the CPB released its annual border crossing data, revealing the apprehension of a record 2.4 million individuals attempting to cross the border illegally.
Among those detained, 172 non-citizens were on the terrorist watch list, marking an increase from the 2022 figure of 98 individuals apprehended from the watchlist.
The border crisis has created challenges for sanctuary cities, as they struggle with accommodating the influx of illegal immigrants seeking shelter. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has claimed to have prioritized alleviating the burden on taxpayers by expediting the process for immigrant work visas.