U.S. Could See Record High Number of Migrants at Southern Border in 2021

The United States could see a record high number of people coming to the southern border this year, according to projections reviewed by CNN.

By the end of fiscal year 2021, the U.S. could encounter 2 million migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly double the amount seen in 2006—the last time apprehensions of people at the border exceeded 1 million. Those projections could change if there are policy changes, but they add to the pressure President Joe Biden already faces over immigration.

Republicans point to the influx of people at the border as evidence that Biden's stance on the border is failing. They've called for the completion of former President Donald Trump's border wall, which Biden halted construction on, and put the blame on Biden's rolling back of his predecessor's policies.

The White House has pushed back on criticism that Biden created the situation at the border. Officials have criticized the Trump administration for leaving them a "dismantled and unworkable system," and Biden reminded people that there's often an influx of people at this time of year.

"The reason they're coming is that it's the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat in the desert, number one," Biden said at a recent press conference. "Number two, they're coming because of the circumstances in [their] country."

border record high number projection
The U.S. could encounter 2 million migrants at the border by the end of September, according to CNN, a record high. Central American immigrants arriving illegally from Mexico walk after disembarking from an inflatable boat on a bank of the US side of the Rio Grande river before seeking asylum by turning themselves in to border patrol agents at the border city of Roma on March 28. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Alex Padilla recently agreed with Biden that there's an influx every year around this time. He told actors Chris Evans and Mark Kassen, the co-founders of civic media organization A Starting Point, that some years just see a greater increase than others, and that people are leaving their home countries because of violence, fear for their lives and a lack of economic opportunities.

One long-term solution Padilla had for helping to reduce the number of people making the dangerous journey to the United States is for the U.S. to help create economic opportunities in other countries. If people have more opportunities in their home countries, it relieves the number of people who feel like their "only hope is to come to the United States."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has acknowledged that the influx of people at the border is a "big problem," but the Biden administration hasn't labeled it a "crisis," as Republican critics have. Biden also noted during his press conference that the "vast majority" of people who are coming to the border are being "sent back."

In February, 79 percent of single adults were sent back, according to CNN's Daniel Dale, and 41 percent of families were turned away.

Up to 1.1 million single adults are expected to arrive at the border through September, the end of the fiscal year, according to CNN, as well as 828,000 families and more than 200,000 unaccompanied children.

Newsweek reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.