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Fewer immigrants at the US-Mexico border

Fewer immigrants at the US-Mexico border

The latest figures show that the number of migrants crossing the border between the United States and Mexico has decreased. As VOA correspondent Aline Barros reports, illegal crossings usually increase in the spring, but officials say they fell by more than 6% in April compared to March. A group of immigrants walk past the steel fence that marks the border between the United States and Mexico.

They have walked over 14 kilometers in the United States to reach this camp, in the village of Sasabe, Arizona. Here, they await surrender to US Border Patrol officers. Most say they will seek asylum in the United States.

"Since things are not going well in my country in Africa, I decided to come here," says Achraf Duro-Nile from Togo.

Immigrants describe their journey to the United States as dangerous.

“I was afraid for my safety as we had to cross a large forest in Panama. It wasn't easy, but we made it," he says further.

US officials released new figures showing that illegal border crossings from Mexico fell by more than 6% in April, which is unusual for the spring season.

The US federal agency Customs and Border Protection says it has registered about 129,000 immigrants along the southwest border. In March, over 137,000 immigrants were registered, and in December, about 250,000 immigrants.

The US government says the decline comes as a result of increased efforts by Mexico to stop illegal crossings. Immigrants, however, continue to come from different countries of the world.

"There are many people who come from West Africa, generally languages ​​and cultures that we and other migrants do not know. That's always going to be a bit of a challenge," says John Modlin of the Border Patrol.

Customs and Border Protection officials say despite the drop in numbers, the situation has worsened recently as smugglers are pushing migrants to more isolated areas, such as the Arizona city of Tucson.

"We are forced to go to these areas that do not necessarily have paved roads. However, we make an effort to reach these areas, determine if any of them need help and get them out of there," says Mr. Modlin.

As of May 2023, US immigration officials have deported more than 720,000 individuals. Most had crossed the southwestern border illegally.

In the camp in Sasabe, activists of humanitarian organizations offer migrants food and water.

"Before, most of the migrants were from Mexico and Central America. They still keep coming, but now there are a lot of people coming from Africa. We have also met people from Bangladesh and India. Crossing the border here is reminiscent of the United Nations", says Mark Sanders, an employee of the humanitarian organization "Green Valley Sahuarita". The decline in border crossings has not affected Republican criticism of President Biden's administration.

"People are going to keep coming if they think they can get in illegally," says Jodey Arrington, a Republican lawmaker. American officials say they will remain vigilant to understand changes in migration patterns./VOA

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