Over 26,000 migrants arrested on US-Mexico border in past 3 days: Official

Over 26,000 migrants arrested on US-Mexico border in past 3 days: Official

26,382 people have been detained while 7,399 others eluded law enforcement, law enforcement says

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Over 26,000 migrants were arrested along the US-Mexico border over the past three days, an official said Monday, as the US faces a surge in migration.

Over the past 72 hours, 26,382 people have been detained while 7,399 others eluded law enforcement, said US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz Ruiz. Hundreds of pounds of drugs, mostly marijuana, were also seized at the border.

The Biden administration has been bracing for an expected surge in migrant arrivals at the southern border with pandemic-era authorization allowing for the swift removal of asylum seekers expiring this week.

Since Title 42 was enacted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020, the policy has allowed the US to expel migrants nearly 2.7 million times from the southern border, according to government figures. The policy is slated to end May 11.

In addition to sending some 1,500 troops to the US-Mexico border for three months to bolster the capacity of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in April that the US is establishing migrant processing centers in Colombia and Guatemala to help stymy the surge.

Several thousand migrants are expected to be processed at the sites each month, and the US is working with other nations to establish additional sites.

Under US law, any migrant can claim asylum in the US whether or not they come to the country through a legal port of entry. But President Joe Biden has faced criticism from Republicans over his handling of immigration, prompting his administration to adopt a tough-nosed approach to the issue.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, warned that migrants "who do not use our lawful pathways" starting May 12 will be placed "in expedited removal proceedings."

"Those who arrive at our border and do not have a legal basis to stay will have made the journey, often having suffered horrific trauma and having paid their life savings to the smugglers, only to be quickly removed," he said, vowing to have them removed within "a matter of days."

In addition, individuals who are found to have crossed the US border illegally will be subjected to a ban of at least five years on US entry and possible criminal prosecution on additional attempts to cross the border illegally, Mayorkas said.

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