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Just how many people tried to sneak into the US this year? Where from? Martha's Vineyard?

Worried about the 50 people bused into Martha's Vineyard. So far this year 2 million folks have been arrested trying to sneak into the United States. That's the ones who got caught. The others? For the folks who live in the border state, especially Ariz and Texas, think that might have a slight impact? Meanwhile, 100 people show up on a bus, and Lori Lightfoot goes ballistic.

Migrants From Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua Drive Border Arrests

The three countries have faced a combination of political repression and economic hardship

By Michelle Hackman, WSJ

Sept. 19, 2022 6:52 pm ET

WASHINGTON—Migrants from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are driving the continued record pace of illegal migration at the southern border, with more than three times as many migrants from those countries arrested so far this year as at the same point in 2021, government data show.

Border Patrol agents made about 181,000 arrests of migrants crossing the southern border illegally in August, putting the total this year just shy of two million with a month still to go in the government’s 2022 fiscal year. Migrants who want to ask for asylum at the border must be arrested by a Border Patrol agent to start the process. Separately, Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, took 22,473 people into custody at legal border crossings. Combined, CBP has recorded nearly 2.2 million encounters along the southwest border since October.

The record numbers of migrants caught crossing the border illegally come as Republican governors escalate a campaign to send migrants to Democratic strongholds. Last week, planes carrying 50 migrants seeking asylum, mostly from Venezuela, landed unexpectedly in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office confirmed that the state orchestrated the flights.

Migrants who unexpectedly arrived in Martha’s Vineyard this week began relocating to a military base in Cape Cod on Friday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office said the state had organized the flights that carried the 50 asylum seekers to the island.

Until recently, most of the people crossing the U.S. border illegally were either Mexicans, typically in search of work, or families from northern Central America. But the number of migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador has been falling, with 50% fewer migrants coming from those countries in August compared with the same period a year ago.

Migration from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, on the other hand, has been climbing. Nearly 200,000 Cubans have crossed into the U.S. this year seeking safety, government data show, the largest such migration away from the Caribbean island since Fidel Castro took power, surpassing even the migration of the Mariel boatlift in 1980.

In all three countries, a combination of political repression and economic hardship made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic has driven hundreds of thousands of migrants to head to the U.S.

Title 42, a pandemic-era border policy the Biden administration has been ordered by a court to continue, gives the Border Patrol the power to expel some migrants without giving them the chance to ask for asylum. But the U.S. can only expel migrants that either their own countries or Mexico will take. Tense relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua means none of those countries will accept deportees, and Mexico won’t either.

That has led the U.S. government to allow citizens from those countries to remain in the country to pursue their asylum claims, likely encouraging more people fleeing the three countries to make the dangerous journey to the U.S.

According to immigration authorities, in recent months nearly half of the migrants released into the U.S. to pursue asylum or other humanitarian relief have been from one of those three countries.

Many of them hope to head to Florida, which has large, established Cuban and Venezuelan communities. Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, cited that as a reason he used state tax dollars to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this article.

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