Migrant expulsions at southern border shoot up as pandemic drags on

Border Report

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The number of people expelled from the United States in 2020 ended with an upswing, according to statistics from the National Immigration Institute in Mexico.

Through November, there had been 29,753 Mexican nationals sent back to Mexico through the state of Baja California, directly south from California, most arriving in the city of Tijuana.

Overall, the numbers show expulsions are up by 400 percent since June.

The city of Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas saw the highest number of repatriated immigrants with almost 27,000.

Border cities throughout the southwest are seeing an increase.

Border Patrol agents gather at the border barrier between San Diego and Tijuana. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

In the small town of Sasabe south of Tucson, an estimated 100 migrants are being expelled daily, three times the normal amount.

“There isn’t enough space or room, the infrastructure in Mexico just doesn’t exist,” said Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee.

Rios says Mexican border towns don’t have the shelters and other resources to properly care for the flood of immigrants arriving in cities like Tijuana on a daily basis.

“These expulsion put people at a greater risk especially during a pandemic when we know Mexico isn’t doing its part in ensuring migrants are being cared for,” Rios said.

Since the pandemic started in March, Customs and Border Protection has been expelling migrants immediately after processing them.

Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

CBP has said this is needed in part to keep the virus from spreading and to minimize exposure for agents and at detention facilities. The migrants are expelled under Title 42, an emergency U.S. directive.

CBP records indicate that since March, when the pandemic started, 323,017 people have been apprehended along the southwest border and expelled.

And statistics show numbers have increased steadily since June especially in the months of October and November.

People who work with deported and expelled migrants worry they are having to turn people away and fear things will get worse.

“The shelters are already operating at 50 percent,” said José María García Lara, a migrant network coordinator. “We cut the number of people by half as a preventive measure to create a sparse environment, we just hope we don’t have a proliferation of the virus, we’re trying to take precautions.”

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