Border officials met 172,000 migrants at the border in March, a 71% increase from February and the latest indicator of the magnitude of the crisis on the southern border – but one that Biden officials are trying to blame the Trump administration on.
Of the 172,000 migrants found, most were single adults, including 18,890 unaccompanied children – a 100% increase from the already high number found in February, and the largest monthly number in more than a decade. A total of 100,441 migrants were found in February.
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“CBP has seen an increase in the number of encounters and arrests. This is not new. The number of encounters has continued to increase since April 2020 and our past experiences have helped us to be better prepared for the challenges we face this year. According to Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement. “We are determined to strike a balance between the need to maintain border security, care for those under our custody and protect the American people and our personnel.”
The Biden administration has tackled an increase in migrant numbers in recent months, a wave that has escalated into a major crisis, though officials have instead described it as a ‘challenge’.
While single adults and family units can be returned through Title 42 for public health protection, the government does not apply it to unaccompanied children. Meanwhile, Mexico is refusing to take back family units with children under the age of seven. The result has been a reintroduction of the so-called “catch-and-release” policy that releases some migrants inland, and photos have appeared of overcrowded facilities for migrant children.
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In March, 103,900 people were deported under Title 42, representing 60% of the total number of encounters.
Republicans have accused the government of fueling the crisis by reversing Trump-era policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that kept migrants in Mexico for their hearings, as well as limiting and restricting domestic enforcement priorities. halt the construction of the boundary wall.
But the Biden administration has instead blamed the Trump administration,
“We keep digging out of the hole left by the previous immigration service,” an official said during the call to reporters.
The officials blamed a lack of preparedness from Health and Human Services, saying the Trump administration did not request additional beds until Jan. 15. It also blamed the previous administration for reducing funding for the Northern Triangle and ending asylum issues.
The official said the new government has made “significant progress” since January 20, but warned that “no one should expect it to be resolved overnight”. The official also called on Congress to take action to improve the immigration system.
It reflects President Biden’s own criticism of his predecessor.
“He dismantled all the elements that existed to deal with what was a problem that remained a problem for a long time,” he said at a news conference last month. He basically shut down the number of beds available. He didn’t fund HHS to get people to take the kids out of those Border Patrol facilities where they shouldn’t be and shouldn’t be more than a few days – kind of while But he dismantled it all. “
Those claims have been bogged down with Republicans, who pointed to low numbers last year, as well as mechanisms put in place to deal with the migrant thrusts following the 2019 border crisis that have now been undone.
March’s figures surpassed the highest monthly total during the 2019 crisis, where about 142,000 migrants were found in May of that year. It is likely that numbers will continue to increase in the spring and early summer months.
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Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., On “Fox & Friends,” Biden called for policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols to be re-implemented, and pointed to recent openings of new facilities for child migrants as evidence that the administration cannot handle the numbers coming in.
“They can’t even handle the influx of migrants, they are taking over military bases, the convention center in Dallas, and the people on the ground are telling you that they have no control over it, it has to stop,” he said. “Joe Biden must reverse this deadly devastating policy.”