McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A quarter of all migrants who were apprehended crossing the Southwest border in November had crossed into the United States before, most sent back already due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data released Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

There were 173,620 migrant encounters along the Southwest border with Mexico in November — a 5% increase from October — and of those encountered, 25% had crossed the border illegally within the past year, CBP reports. The number represents a 4% decrease from the previous month.

Nationwide, there were 197,383 encounters in November, an increase of under 3% from the previous month. October had marked the third straight month of declining unauthorized migrant encounters.

The monthly assessment report shows two-thirds of all migrants apprehended along the Southwest border in November were single adults — 66% — bringing the total arrested by law enforcement to 114,419. That is a 5% increase from October, according to CBP.

(Graphic by CBP)

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, over half, or 87,341 of all migrants apprehended along the Southwest border last month were expelled under Title 42 health orders, which have been in place since March 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Federal officials sent back 11,155 migrant family members that tried to cross onto U.S. soil under Title 42, that’s a quarter of all families that crossed the Southwest border.

CBP officials attributed the high numbers of migrants making multiple crossings due to turn backs due to the pandemic.

“The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a higher than usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border,” the report said.

(Graphic by U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

There also was an increase of 9% in unaccompanied migrant children who crossed the border in November from October. And the average number of children held in CBP custody went up dramatically, averaging 962 per day, compared to 595 per day in October.

As the holidays approach, there appears to be more unaccompanied youth making the dangerous border crossings.

Data sent out as of late Thursday by the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services shows there were 12,624 children in HHS custody on Thursday and 344 in CBP custody. And that over 900 children have been held by CBP for the past month.

The number of unaccompanied minors arrested so far in Fiscal 2022 far exceeds the number of youth apprehended in the early months of the previous three fiscal years. Over 12,000 youth were taken into custody in October and November.

By comparison, no more than 3,400 youth were apprehended during the same time period in 2020 and the numbers did not exceed 6,000 during those months in 2019, according to CBP data.

CBP also reports that nationwide drug seizures were up 90% from October.

In November, CBP officials seized nearly 1,545 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at $335 million, according to the report.

South Texas correspondent Sandra Sanchez can be reached at