A surge in Cuban and Nicaraguan arrivals at the U.S. border with Mexico in December led to the highest number of illegal border crossings recorded during any month of Joe Biden’s presidency, authorities said Friday.
The extraordinary influx came shortly before Biden introduced measures on Jan. 5 to deter Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans.
U.S. authorities stopped migrants 251,487 times along the Mexican border in December, up 7% from 234,896 times in November and up 40% from 179,253 times in December 2021, Customs and Border Protection said.
Cubans were stopped nearly 43,000 times in December, up 23% from November and more than quintuple the same period a year earlier. Nicaraguans were stopped more than 35,000 times, up 3% from November and more than double from December 2021.
More migrants were also stopped from Ecuador and Peru.
The influx from Cuba and Nicaragua made El Paso, Texas, the busiest of the Border Patrol’s nine sectors on the Mexican border for a third month in a row. The city was overwhelmed with migrants who were released to pursue their immigration cases in the U.S. in the weeks leading up to Biden’s visit on Jan. 8, his first to the border as president.