U.S. Mexican Border Wall
U.S. Mexican Border Wall. Representational Image. Creative Commons

The amount of migrants apprehended at the U.S. southern border surprisingly fell in March, with officials crediting enforcement actions by the Mexican government as a key factor, CBS News reported on Thursday.

Concretely, Border Patrol agents encountered over 137,000 people crossing the border unlawfully during the period. Even though it's a dip compared to February's 141,000, the figure becomes more significant as seasonal trends pointed at a surge during the period.

In fact, the outlet reported that it's the first time in seven years and the only one during the Biden administration when apprehensions fall from February to March. They had spiked by at least 33,000 people, according to CBP statistics.

Officials still see an increase in encounters as spring starts, but the lower figure could give some air to the Biden administration, which has faced criticism from different sides of the political spectrum for what they perceive as a lack of enforcement to reduce the amount of crossings.

Immigration still ranks atop of Americans' concerns according to a new poll conducted by Gallup. Concretely, immigration topped the list in one of the survey's categories: when asked to name, unprompted, what they believe is the most important problem facing the country today, 28% mentioned immigration.

Moreover, other polls have shown that a large percentage of the population doesn't approve of the way in which the Biden administration is handling the issue. That includes almost three quarter of Latinos, according to a recent AP-NORC survey.

Overall, two thirds of Americans said they disapprove of Biden's approach, also including 40% of Democrats. The survey also showed that over half of respondents ranked immigration as an "extremely or very important issue to them personally, including 75% of Republicans, 52% of independents and 46% of Democrats."

Aware of this issue, the Biden administration has held several meetings with its Mexican counterpart to address this. Results are seemingly showing now. A recent report by AP highlighted that Venezuelan migrants attempting to reach the U.S. are increasingly getting stuck in Mexico unable to continue their journey and with no perspective to do so in the near future.

Venezuelans accounted for a significant part of the drop in migrants recorded: there were 3,184 arrests in February and 4,422 in January, compared to almost 50,000 in December.

Efforts by the Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly known as AMLO) administration are aimed at keeping migrants closer to its southern border, which it shares with Guatemala. They include forcing people from trains and flying and busing them back south. Some have even been flown to Venezuela.

Mexico also reached an agreement with Venezuela to deport migrants and with large companies operating in the country to employ others. Among the companies are brewers Empresas Polar and state oil firm PDVSA, as well as Mexican food company Bimbo and retailer FEMSA.

Mexico said it would also give about $110 a month over a six-month period to all Venezuelan migrants deported in an attempt to deter them from returning. The offer was also extended to Ecuadorians and Colombians.

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