The Trump administration is racing to keep one of his 2016 campaign pledges by completing 450 miles of a wall on the US southern border.
The Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection are working to finish construction by the end of 2020.
As of mid-November, 402 miles had been built or replaced. The project remains on track to reach the 450-mile goal by the end of the year, according to CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez.
The administration's efforts come as US border authorities reported stopping people entering the country illegally from Mexico more than 69,000 times in October, the sixth straight monthly increase and the highest level since July 2019.
The 69,000 encounters in October were up from 57,674 in September and 45,139 in October 2019. It was the highest level since 81,777 in July 2019 during a surge of Central American asylum-seekers.
Mark Morgan, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, said deteriorating economic conditions were driving more people to come to the United States.
There have also been large numbers of repeat crossers since March when US authorities began expelling people entering the county illegally under pandemic-related authority without an opportunity to seek asylum. Mexicans and many Central Americans are sent back to Mexico, the vast majority within two hours.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has pledged to end many asylum restrictions introduced under President Donald Trump, including a policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for immigration court hearings in the United States. He has not said if he would extend the pandemic-related powers to expel people without an opportunity to seek asylum.
Biden has said he will cease wall construction.
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