Illegal crossings at US border rise for 4th straight month

FILE - Migrants waiting to cross into the United States wait for news at the border crossing Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. A federal appellate court refused late Thursday, Aug. 19 to delay implementation of a judge’s order reinstating a Trump administration policy forcing thousands to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S. President Joe Biden had suspended former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy on his first day in office and the Department of Homeland Security said it was permanently terminating the program in June, according to the court record. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. border authorities stopped migrants more often on the southern border for a fourth straight month in May, unaffected by expectations that pandemic-era limits on asylum may be lifted. 

Migrants were stopped 239,416 times in May, up 2% from 235,478 in April and up 33% from 180,597 in May 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. 

Recent months are the busiest in decades, but comparisons to pre-pandemic levels are complicated because migrants expelled under a public health authority known as Title 42 face no legal consequences, encouraging repeat attempts. Authorities said 25% of encounters were with people who had been stopped at least once in the previous year, compared with 15% in the five years before COVID-19. 

The Biden administration planned to end Title 42 in May but a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the move.