Arrests at the border between the US and Mexico have reached the highest point in twenty years.
Over one million people have been arrested by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the last six months alone.
Information released by CBP on Monday revealed that there were 209,906 arrests along the southern border in just March, and 803,607 more since October.
According to the CBP, 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.”
Still, the massive uptick in arrests means that the US is on pace to break the previous record total of approximately 1.9 million in 2021.
Roughly 76 percent of land border encounters were single adults. Encounters with unaccompanied children increased 18 percent, with 14,167 encounters in March compared with 11,984 in February.
“About 51 per cent of those people were expelled under Title 42, a controversial pandemic rule which allows border agents to turn back migrants as a danger to public health, whether they are caught crossing illegally or arrive seeking asylum at a checkpoint,” the Independent reports. “During the pandemic, both US president Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump used Title 42 to expel migrants en masse. Mr Biden’s administration is now preparing to lift it as of 23 May.”
CBP is preparing for another surge in encounters with migrants as soon as the rule is lifted.
“CBP continues to enforce the CDC’s Title 42 Public Health Order. Half of migrants encountered in March were processed for expulsion under Title 42, and those who were not processed under Title 42 continue to be processed for removal under Title 8, the same authorities CBP has used throughout our history,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.
Magnus continued, “while we may likely see an increase in encounters after the CDC’s Title 42 Public Health Order is terminated on May 23rd, CBP continues to execute this Administration’s comprehensive strategy to safely, orderly, and humanely manage our borders. CBP is surging personnel and resources to the border, increasing processing capacity, securing more ground and air transportation, and increasing medical supplies, food, water, and other resources to ensure a humane environment for those being processed.”