Illegal immigration at the United States-Mexico border increased in March as the federal government tries to discourage unlawful crossings.
The apprehension rate of illegal immigrants increased by 25% between February and March. The new operational statistics come from a report from the Department of Homeland Security released on April 17, one day before the department’s Secretary Alejandros Mayorkas said a new wave of illegal immigration is expected to hit the border in May.
“CBP works around the clock to perform our vital missions including maintaining border security,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller in a statement. “Overall, in March, encounters of individuals on the Southwest border between ports of entry were down 23% from the prior year, as we continue to respond to the challenges presented by increasing global migration.”
“CBP will continue to enforce our immigration laws and ramp up efforts to combat smuggler misinformation as we prepare to return to expedited removal proceedings under Title 8 authorities, which carry stricter consequences like a five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution for unlawful entry,” Miller added.
According to the report, 162,317 people attempted to illegally enter the United States between Ports of Entry along the southwest border in March. Another 29,583 people were apprehended while attempting to illegally cross the border at Ports of Entry. The total number of people apprehended while attempting to illegally cross is 14% lower than the rate recorded in March of 2022.
Approximately 69% of those apprehended were single adults. Just over 87,660, or 46% of all encounters, were deported under Title 42.
Mayorkas told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on April 17 that illegal immigration is likely to increase in May when Title 42’s pandemic-era authorization is set to end.
“We do anticipate a surge in the number of encounters,” Mayorkas said, per The Washington Times.
The Biden administration has proposed limiting the number of asylum claims that can be made at the U.S.-Mexico border in preparation for the end of Title 42.
“The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice announced the new proposed rule which makes migrants automatically presumed to be ineligible for asylum if they have crossed into the U.S. illegally and have failed to claim asylum in a country through which they have already traveled,” reported Fox News on Feb. 21.
Anyone experiencing an acute medical emergency, considered to be a human trafficking victim, or may be facing an “extreme and imminent” threat to life or safety could be granted an exemption to the rule. All unaccompanied minors will be exempt as well.
President Joe Biden has also announced he intends to expand the definition of “lawful presence” to include hundreds of thousands of people residing in the U.S. as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with the ultimate aim of offering them Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage.