Illegal border crossings rose by 33% in July, fueled by increase along Arizona desert

According to Friday’s government statistics, U.S. border officials processed migrants 183 503 times along the border of Mexico in July. Illegal crossings increased by 33% in July after falling to a 2-year low in June, despite record-high temperatures.

In July, Border Patrol agents arrested 132,652 migrants who illegally entered the U.S. between ports of entry, compared with nearly 100,000 in June. U.S. Immigration authorities processed 50.851 migrants in legal ports of entry. This is a record. Most were under a system which allows asylum seekers in Mexico to request appointments for entry to the U.S. using a phone application.

Tucson, the Border Patrol sector that includes most of Arizona’s border with Mexico, and some parts of Sonoran Desert where temperatures reached 110 degrees each day in summer, saw the sharpest rise in illegal crossings. Border Patrol reported nearly 40,000 arrests in the Tucson sector, which is a record.

Last month, Border Patrol apprehensions increased across many demographics, but especially for families traveling with young children. This population poses significant operational challenges to U.S. officials because of the legal limitations on detention. Last month, Border Patrol agents processed 60,000 migrants traveling in families between ports of entry. This is nearly double the number from June.


In July, the number of adults who were apprehended alone was just above 62,000. This is almost on par with June. Border Patrol processed over 10,000 unaccompanied minors, a nearly 50% increase from June.

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official told reporters in a Friday briefing that smugglers are driving the increased number of border crossings on Arizona’s border. The official described the Tucson sector as “particularly challenging” in a concern, and noted that Border Patrol had seen an increase in migrants in distress.

The official stated, “We’ve seen human smugglers try to direct migrants to that area and advertise to people that this is a place where they can expect to have greater success in crossing the country.” “That’s not true.”

The official who spoke only to reporters under the condition of anonymity said that the administration tries to reduce illegal crossings by deporting “more” migrant families and adults. The official refused to give specific numbers of deportations.

Although migrant crossings increased in July, the numbers have not reached the highs of 2022 when Border Patrol apprehensions peaked at 220,000 per month. The number of illegal border crossings in July is also 27% less than it was in July 2022.

The increase in illegal crossings is a threat to the Biden administration’s migration management strategy. It was credited with the two-year-low in apprehensions that occurred in June. The Biden administration’s migration management strategy relies on programs which allow tens thousands of migrants to enter the U.S. each month with government permission, and raise asylum standards for those who do not follow these procedures.

CBP One is the app that the Biden administration is trying to turn into the main portal for the U.S. asylum process. The Biden administration also allows up to 30,000 migrants with American sponsors from Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela to fly into U.S. Airports every month.

A second Biden administration policy on border policies disqualifies asylum seekers who enter the U.S. without seeking refugee in another country they pass through before reaching American soil.

The policy was primarily applied to single adults, as the government did not have enough asylum officers to screen everyone who requested protection. The policy has not been implemented to many migrant family members, as the Biden administration does not hold migrant children and parents for more than 72 hours.

The Biden administration faces a new challenge in its border strategy: lawsuits. Republican-led state are asking for a federal court judge in Texas shut down the program of migrant sponsoring, while advocates are asking the federal appeals courts in California to invalidate the asylum restriction.