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US border officials recorded a 25% jump in migrant crossings in March

WASHINGTON – The number of migrants arrested by US immigration authorities after crossing the Mexican border without authorization rose 25% in March as the Biden administration prepares for a major policy change next month.

US Border Patrol agents recorded more than 162,000 apprehensions of immigrants at official ports of entry last month, a jump from the 130,000 apprehensions reported in February, federal figures released Monday.

The increase in immigration follows a historical pattern of border crossings in the spring. Despite the increase, the number of migrant apprehensions last month was lower than the numbers recorded in March 2021 and March 2022.

Still, illegal immigration at the U.S. southern border remains at historically high levels, and concerns over a larger flow of illegal crossings have intensified as U.S. officials prepare to end a rule known as Title 42 that allowed them to summarily deport tens of thousands. Migrants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Absent a major policy pivot, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing for up to 13,000 migrants to cross the southern border per day, up to about 400,000 per month, once Title 42 is lifted in early May, according to internal estimates. The Trump-era order will expire when the national COVID-19 public health emergency expires on May 11.

To address the potential surge in immigration, the Biden administration hopes to finalize a regulation on or before May 11 that would disqualify immigrants from asylum if they enter the United States illegally but fail to seek protection in a country other than the country they fled to. They crossed over and reached American soil. The rule is likely to be challenged in court by immigrant advocates, who have denounced it as a Trump-like effort to dismantle US asylum laws.

Hundreds of Venezuelan migrants cross the border into Mexico and the United States

Venezuelan migrants walk past U.S. Border Patrol to cross the border and apply for humanitarian asylum in the United States on April 10, 2023 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

David Peinado/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The increase in immigrant arrivals in March marked the first time that immigration levels had increased significantly since President Biden’s announcement. new system earlier this year to discourage illegal border crossings and encourage immigrants to wait for a chance to enter the United States legally.

In January, the Biden administration convinced Mexico to accept additional deported immigrants, expanding Title 42 to deport Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who tried to enter the country illegally. Previously, only immigrants from Mexico, North Central America and Venezuela could be deported to Mexico.

At the same time, the administration began allowing immigrants in Mexico to apply for entry into the U.S. at border ports of entry through a mobile app. CBP One. The Americans have promised to admit up to 30,000 immigrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela if they agree to sponsor them.

In March, officials processed 22,865 asylum-seekers who secured appointments to enter the U.S. through the CBP One app, according to government data released Monday. Another 27,783 immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela flew to the United States under the sponsorship program.

Fears at the border increased last month due to an increase in crossings between migrants from Mexico, Colombia and Peru. The increase occurred across the population, with officials recording higher levels of apprehension among single adults, families and unaccompanied children than in February.

Fears for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans paled in comparison to the large number of migrants from those countries crossing the border late last year. But the number of Venezuelans trying to illegally cross the US southern border has increased since February.

The Border Patrol has reported more than one million migrant apprehensions in fiscal year 2023, with six more months to go. The agency recorded 2.2 million apprehensions along the southern border in fiscal year 2022, a record high.

The apprehension statistics do not precisely indicate the number of people processed by U.S. border officials, since some migrants try to enter the country more than once after being deported to Mexico. About a quarter of those processed in March were repeat border-crossers, according to official figures.

About 420,000 or more than 40% of the apprehensions recorded in the current fiscal year have been deported to Mexico or their home countries under Title 42, official statistics show. In March, the Border Patrol made more than 85,000 deportations, the highest level since June 2022.

Immigrants who are not removed under Title 42 are either deported under regular immigration laws, sent to long-term detention centers, or released with an opportunity to request asylum. Unaccompanied children who are not from Mexico are held in federal shelters until U.S.-based sponsors claim them.

The unprecedented levels of migrant apprehension recorded along the US-Mexico border in recent years have coincided with a historic displacement crisis in the Western Hemisphere, where countries in economic and political turmoil such as Venezuela have seen their citizens flee in record numbers. the answer

About 250,000 migrants crossed Panama’s Darien Gap in 2022 on their way to the United States and other destinations, an all-time high, according to Panamanian government statistics. In March alone, 38,000 migrants crossed the roadless and mountainous jungle – a 55% increase from February.

Last week, the governments of the United States, Colombia and Panama announced a two-month operation to curb migrant smuggling in the Darien Gap, but did not release specific details.

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