As the crisis at the southern border moves into its second year, more foreign nationals continue to attempt to take advantage of what is perceived to be a porous situation and higher chances of being allowed into the United States -- with more coming from distant countries.
There were more than 178,840 migrant apprehensions at the southern border in December, marking the latest month significantly higher than the prior year and the latest sign that the migrant surge is unlikely to end anytime soon.
But while the majority of migrants are still coming from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a growing number are coming from further away. Nearly 45% of all migrants (79,678) came from countries other than Mexico and the Northern Triangle.
Of those, a larger number are coming from countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Brazil. The number of Nicaraguans rose from 640 in December 2020 to 15,298 in December 2021, while the number of Venezuelans increased from 206 to 24,819. However, a not insignificant number come from further out.
More than 2,100 came from Russia -- coming at a time when tensions between Washington and Moscow are high due to Russia’s buildup at the border with Ukraine. That’s up from 73 in December 2020. Meanwhile, 358 came from Ukraine -- up from six a year ago. Axios first noted the numbers of migrants coming from the region.
There were 1,142 migrants from India (up from 31 last year) and 566 from Turkey (up from one in December 2020), according to official Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
Meanwhile, Del Rio Sector Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens said in a tweet that agents recently apprehended 15 people from Pakistan, Syria, China, Eritrea, Sudan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
So far this fiscal year, agents in his sector have encountered migrants from 84 different countries. Last week, Fox News reported how five Syrian men had been encountered attempting to enter the U.S.
On Monday, President Biden admitted there was still "a lot to do" to resolve the situation on the border -- and doubled down on the administration’s focus on "root causes" like poverty and corruption in Central America.
"I think one of the fundamental things we've got to do in addition to some of the changes we'll make, which we won’t get into it today, is that if we figure out why they're leaving in the first place," Biden said. "It's not like people sit around and say, in Guadalajara, ‘I got a great idea, let's sell everything we have, give it to a coyote, take us across the border, leave us in the desert in a country doesn't want us. We don't speak the language. Won't that be fun?’
"You know, there are gangs we're working on, there's a whole lot of illegal movement, but there's also a way to begin to deal with the reason they're leaving in the first place," he added.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar and Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.