(CNN) – The Joe Biden administration has expelled more than half of immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks under a Trump-era health warrant continued by the new administration, according to preliminary revised data . By CNN.
Of the 103,000 immigrants found by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the three weeks to March 17, more than 61,000 were expelled under the health order known as “Title 42.” About 41,800 were allowed to remain in the US.
US President Joe Biden said at his first formal press conference on Thursday that “the vast majority, the overwhelming majority of people who reach and cross the border will be turned back.”
He spent much of the press conference grappling with questions about the southern border crisis, vowing that conditions will improve for unaccompanied minors arriving in the United States, and blamed the previous administration and the cooler weather for the increase in immigrants at the border.
He went on to say that the United States is returning “the vast majority of families that come.”
But most of the immigrant families detained by US border guards during those three weeks remained in the country, the data shows.
In the three weeks to March 17, more than 21,000 family members were detained by border guards at the southwest border and processed to the United States, according to the records. About 7,600 were expelled during the same period.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to expel “non-citizen singles and many family units” in accordance with a public health order from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a US official said Thursday.
In some situations, when deportation is not possible because Mexico cannot receive them, families are placed in deportation proceedings, the official added.
“This administration draws the line when it comes to children. We do not drive young children into violence or subsequent trauma, ”the official said.
Mexico began implementing a law last year that limited the U.S. government’s ability to return some families to that country, most notably in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, south of Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. the ground zero is of border crossings.
“That’s why we are seeing higher numbers” in the region, the official said. “This is also why we released a number of people with a slightly different form of an NTA, a message to appear.”
Some migrants are released in the US without a ‘notice to appear’
To get immigrants out of the overwhelmed facilities faster, Customs and Border Protection has begun to release people in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas region without a “ notice to appear, ” a document ordering them to appear before an immigration judge to be released by a certain date, sources told CNN. NBC first reported on this issue. The measure could make it difficult to track immigrants entering the country and cause confusion among those seeking a solution to their asylum application.
The release of some immigrants without announcements began over the weekend and their usage has fluctuated since then, a Department of Homeland Security official said, pointing out that the agency would prefer to deliver the messages to migrants.
The new practice, which gives immigrants the responsibility to initiate their own immigration processes, was done on a case-by-case basis in the past, but is now more widely used to speed up processing and release people from custody. More quickly, according to another Department of Homeland Security official.
A Border Patrol source said the practice only applies to families removed from custody in the Rio Grande Valley region, but is “subject to spread to other sectors” if needed.
Rodolfo Karisch, who served as chief patrol agent in the Rio Grande Valley during the 2019 border crisis, said the immigrants were not released without showing up at the time.
The lack of communications “adds to the problem,” he said, making it difficult for immigration authorities to keep up with the “next generation” of undocumented immigrants.
“The oversaturation is so great that we have had to resort to it to move people fast enough,” said the Department of Homeland Security chief official. “Resources are very scarce.”
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this story.