Border officials encountered the highest number of people seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border this year in May, with encounters hitting 180,034, up slightly from 178,854 in April.
The figures also reveal a 20 percent drop in border encounters with migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador from their peak, but an increase in encounters with people from Mexico.
The release of the new figures comes days after Vice President Harris completed a trip to Guatemala and Mexico that was focused on the border. Immigration and border security has been a difficult issue for the Biden administration, with polls consistently showing it is a weak issue for President Biden.
Republicans have sought to focus some of their political attacks on Biden and Harris over the issue ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
The new figures show that while migration from Central America has dipped over the past two months and migration from Mexico has seen a slight uptick, border encounters of migrants from other countries rose nearly 20 percent from April to May, and has risen 642 percent since the beginning of fiscal 2021.
In total, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 68,797 encounters in May with people from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. Such encounters peaked at 85,637 in March.
Encounters with Mexican migrants rose to 70,630, continuing an upward trend since December.