1.7 million migrants illegally crossed the US border in the past year, the highest number since records began

The US/Canada border in  Lansdowne, Ontario
The US/Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario, pictured in March 2020. LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images
  • A record high number of migrants tried to illegally cross the US border in the past year.
  • Of the 1.7 million illegal migrants, almost 147,000 were unaccompanied minors.
  • The surge in numbers could be due to job losses during the pandemic, the New York Times reports.

A record number of migrants attempted to enter the United States illegally over the past year, the New York Times reported.

According to the publication, 1.7 million illegal migrants were recorded on the southwest land border, making it the highest number of illegal crossings since at least 1960, when the government first began keeping a record.

It was nearly four times higher than the previous year, with 27% of migrants stopped having been detained at least once in the previous 12 months, reported CGTN.

Of those, 1.1 million single adults were detained between September 2020 and September 2021. This group made up 64% of all illegal migrants in the past year.

US illegal migrant graphic
The data is shown on the website. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Meanwhile, 479,000 migrant families were recorded – around 48,000 fewer than in 2019 – and almost 147,000 children crossed the border without parents or guardians, reported US Customs and Border Protection.

It marked the largest number of minors since 2008 when the government started keeping a record of unaccompanied children.

People from 160 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were recorded, with the largest number from Mexico, the publication reports.

According to the New York Times, the surge in migrants could be due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as people from around the world sought out economic opportunities after facing job losses.

The US land borders between Mexico and Canada have been closed for nonessential travel for 19 months due to the pandemic.

However, the US plans to reopen the borders for fully vaccinated travelers next month, Insider’s Sinéad Baker previously reported.