Migrants who came here illegally wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Penitas, Texas on July 8, 2021. (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

( – The number of “encounters” with illegal aliens at the southwest border originating from countries other than Mexico and the “northern triangle” climbed to 59,006 in July – a 24.9 percent increase from the previous month and 328.6 percent increase from the (pre-COVID) July two years ago.

Figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Thursday also showed significant jumps between June and July in the number of “encounters” of migrants hailing from Russia (from 402 to 703) and Colombia (from 481 to 748), while the number from Ukraine more than doubled (from 48 to 101).

Numbers from China and Turkey both decreased slightly in July, although the overall trajectory for both this year has been an upward one.

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The topline figure released by CBP, a total of 212,672 encounters on the southwest border in July, had been expected, after a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official in a court filing early this month put the number at around 210,000.

That figure, 212,672, is the highest recorded since fiscal year 2000. It marks the continuation of a steeply upward trend since the beginning of 2021: 78,442 in January, 101,095 in February, 173,265 in March, 178,850 in April, 180,641 in May, 188,829 in June, and now 212,672 in July.

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The July total is a 419.6 percent increase over the same month one year earlier, when 40,929 encounters were recorded (a figure possibly skewed by COVID-19 pandemic), and a 160 increase over July 2019, when 81,777 encounters were reported.

For the first ten months of the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2020, the total number of migrant encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border reached 1,331,822, up from 350,400 for the equivalent 10-month period in FY 2020 (an increase of 280 percent) and up from 862,256 for the 10-month period in FY 2019 (an increase of 54.4 percent).

When it comes to the number of apprehended migrants who come from countries “other” then Mexico and the “northern triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the steady monthly increase since the start of 2021 is also striking:  9,671 in January, 11,909 in February, 25,123 in March, 33,899 in April, 40,675 in May, 47,224 in June, and 59,006 in July.

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For the first ten months of FY 2021, the total number of migrant apprehensions from these “other” countries is 246,646, two-and-a-half times higher than the 96,069 recorded for the equivalent period in FY 2019. (The figure for the same 10-month period in COVID-19-affected FY 2020 was 44,616.)

The number of encounters involving unaccompanied children reached 18,962 in July, an increase of 24 percent since June. The average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody in July was 1,363 a day, compared with an average of 794 a day the previous month.

CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said “the vast majority of single adults and many families” were being expelled by the CBP under Title 42, the public health authority permitting the expulsion of migrants without a court hearing because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Apprehended migrants who cannot be expelled under Title 42, and who don’t have a legal basis to remain, were placed in expedited removal proceedings, he said.

The CBP also reported that many of migrants were being stopped more than once, a situation which it attributed to the large number of expulsions during the pandemic.

As a result, it said, the total number of encounters is higher than number of unique individuals being stopped along the border.

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