WASHINGTON (AP) — Illegal border crossings from Mexico fell 14% in October from a month earlier, U.S. authorities said Tuesday, ending a three-month streak of big increases.
U.S. officials highlighted the resumption of deportation flights to Venezuela on Oct. 18, shortly after Venezuelans replaced Mexicans as the largest nationality appearing at the border. Arrests of Venezuelans plummeted 45% to 29,637 from 54,833, still second only to Mexicans. Arrests of Venezuelans fell even more, by 74%, in the second half of October from the same period of September.
Arrests for illegal crossings totaled 188,778 for all nationalities in October, down from 218,763 in September, which was the second-highest month on record. Arrests had more than doubled over the previous three months as migrants and smugglers adjusted to new asylum regulations introduced in May.
Arrests of Chinese rose slightly to 4,247, with 99% of them in the San Diego area, as more fly to Ecuador and make their way to the U.S. border amid a faltering economy at home.
“We continue to enhance our border security posture and remain vigilant,” said Troy Miller, the acting CBP commissioner, who urged Congress to approve President Joe Biden’s supplemental budget request for $13.6 billion in border-related spending.
While crossings remain unusually high, the monthly decline is a rare piece of welcome news for a White House that has been criticized on the right and left flanks for its immigration policies. Panama has yet to release October figures for crossings through the notorious Darién jungle, which totaled more than 400,000 during the first nine months of the year, largely Venezuelans.
Biden, a Democrat, has adopted an approach at the border that combines new legal pathways to enter the country with more restrictions on asylum for those who cross the border illegally. Including those legal pathways, migrants crossed the border 240,988 times in October, down 11% from 269,735 in September.
More than 44,000 people entered from Mexico with appointments on the CBP One mobile app, bringing the total number of scheduled appointments on the app to 324,000 since it was introduced in January. Additionally, nearly 270,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela have entered the country by applying online with a financial sponsor and arriving at an airport.