US brokers encounter extra single adults crossing the border – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate

LA JOYA, Texas (AP) – Parents emerge on a baseball field with exhausted kids off the brush. Border guards dictate orders: families with young children in one line and unaccompanied children in another. The smallest of three lines is for single adults.

The Tuesday night scene in La Joya, a town of around 4,000 people, takes place every evening in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and presents Joe Biden with one of the greatest challenges of his young presidency – high numbers of migrants crossing the US border and cross Mexico to seek asylum. April was the second biggest month for unaccompanied children on the border after the all-time high in March.

While asylum-seeking families and children dominate the eye, single adults represent a growing number of border crossings, nearly two in three in April. They are less likely to surrender to the authorities than families and children, which makes them less visible.

The Border Patrol’s 173,460 encounters in April rose 3% from March, the highest level since April 2000. The numbers released on Tuesday are not directly comparable as most of the people stopped were quickly expelled from the country under federal pandemic powers were denying the right to seek asylum. The expulsion has no legal consequences, so many people try to cross several times.

Single adults – more than half of them from Mexico – drove the increased activity. The Border Patrol had 108,301 such encounters in April, up 12% from March. Almost nine out of ten adult encounters ended in expulsions under pandemic-related authority, which began under former President Donald Trump and continued under Biden.

However, Biden exempts unaccompanied children from deportation and allows them to stay in the U.S. while they apply for asylum. Families with young children are also frequently released in the US while their cases progress through the bottleneck immigration courts.

Some current and former border guards say the massive attention paid to families and unaccompanied children is consuming the agents’ time and has created an opening for single adults and drug smugglers to evade the authorities.

Michael Fisher, head of the border patrol from 2010-2015, said some agency officials told him agents were spending 40% less time on patrols and more on “processing, meal preparation” and duties related to the increased number of children .

“The line is very thin right now and the cartels are taking advantage of that,” he said.

As agents try to count how many people evade capture, Fisher believes this would be “at best a guess” in the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. The often thick brush traditionally did not have many sensors and many families and children breed in large groups. The Border Patrol’s most trusted method of counting how many people have escaped is by observing tiny human footprints: dusty footprints, torn cobwebs, broken branches, fallen pebbles.

The Trump administration frequently flew Mexican adults far from the border in hopes of preventing them from crossing again, but the relapse has remained abnormally high. Border Patrol says 29% of those evicted in April were previously evicted.

In hopes of recalibrating staff, the Border Patrol Academy recently completed its first class of staff dealing with court document preparation to free more agents to work on site. They are assigned to the busiest corridors in Texas, but their limited number makes them unlikely to have an immediate impact.

Meanwhile, in April, authorities encountered 17,171 children traveling alone, a 9% decrease from 18,960 in March, but well above the previous high of 11,475 reported by the Border Patrol in May 2019, which came with the 2009 Publication of numbers began.

Border guards’ encounters with families decreased in a similar way to unaccompanied children – by 10% from 53,406 in March to 48,226. Hardly one out of three family encounters resulted in expulsion.

In La Joya, a 15-year-old girl said she left her Honduras homeland without her parents or siblings in hopes of an education and eventually a job to help her family back home. She traveled for a month and a half and arrived at the baseball field with a larger group of migrants. She was wearing a black T-shirt with a phrase in English that she couldn’t understand: “Women move mountains”.

“I wanted a better future for myself and my family. I want to study and work, ”she said, adding that her uncle and aunt in New York had offered to open their home to her.

The Associated Press doesn’t use the girl’s name. Usually children are not named without their parents ‘permission and their parents’ identity has not been established.

Nearby, two Honduran sisters, ages 14 and 16, opened their buns and stripped off the laces of their pink sneakers after an agent ordered them to put the laces, hair ties and other items such as phones and bracelets in a plastic bag.

Rudys Acuña, 29, said he left Nicaragua for political reasons. He carried his 4-year-old son on his shoulders while waiting for orders from agents.

“Sometimes you are really forced to leave your country. It’s not that you want to, ”he said.

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Associate press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Ben Fox in Washington contributed to this report.

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