Every day, some 2,500 people fleeing violence and poverty across Latin America, and from some African and Asian nations, pass through the small town to start the 266-kilometer (165-mile) journey through the Darien Gap AFP / Raul ARBOLEDA

NEW YORK CITY - A record number of immigrants crossed the southern border of Mexico and into the United States last year. This past December, the U.S. Border Patrol had nearly 250,000 encounters with migrants crossing, the highest monthly total on record, easily surpassing the previous peak of about 224,000 encounters in May 2022.

Meanwhile, in 2024 this far, close to 70,000 people have crossed the treacherous Darien Gap to make their way to the States, an inter-annual increase of almost 50% for the time period.

It is no secret that the vast majority of these migrants come from Latin American countries and eventually end up applying for political asylum to get some protection from persecution and danger in their homeland.

But where do these new migrants find their home once they reach the U.S.?

While much of the attention in this migrant wave has been placed in densely populated cities in states like New York, Illinois and Colorado; Texas and Florida, border states which have long complained about the costs of absorbing newcomers, remain top destinations for migrants, a new study by Bloomberg News shows.

The surge of migrants in recent years has significantly changed the landscape and demographics of some cities and states across the country. Here are some takeaways to know about Bloomberg's study.

New Migrants Now Make Up More Than 2% of People in Some Counties

Bloomberg found Illinois to be the state with the highest increase in their immigration court cases filed, jumping nine-fold in 2023 compared with just two years earlier. Colorado and New York saw a seven and five time increase in these numbers respectively, both of which are bigger than the increases in Texas and Florida. This means that even though Florida and Texas might see the highest numbers overall, the mentioned states are experiencing the highest proportional increases.

The data also reveals that New York state saw the highest number of migrant arrivals in 2023 on a per capita basis: 1 per 100 residents of the state.

The Biggest Changes Took Place in States Far From the Southern Border

While it is true that migrants are being allocated all across the U.S. and primarily to urban cities, the study also found a great deal of newcomers prefer to go to rural areas with significant work in the meat packing and agriculture industries, which traditionally employ large numbers of migrants regardless of their status.

Immigration Court Cases Reach Historic High

As hundreds of thousands of migrants come into the U.S. on a monthly basis, an increased backlog has been created at USCIS, which now averages a four year waiting period for the first hearing in an asylum case.

A Shift of Top Nationalities of People With New Immigration Court Cases

Where people move and end up are not the only things that have changed within this period, so has the actual origins of where people come from when they immigrate.

A decade ago, a large majority of immigration court cases involved people from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Today, as economic and humanitarian crises spread to more countries, these numbers have been replaced by newcomers from Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti.

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