Border officials encountered 172,000 migrants at the border in March, a 71% increase from February and the latest indicator of the extent of the southern border crisis – but which Biden officials are trying to dismiss on the Trump administration.
Of the 172,000 migrants interviewed, the majority were single adults and included 18,890 unaccompanied children – a 100% increase from the already high number seen in February and the highest monthly number for more than a decade. In February, a total of 100,441 migrants were interviewed.
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“CBP has seen an increase in the number of meetings and arrests. This is nothing new. Meetings have continued to increase since April 2020, and our past experiences have helped us to be better prepared for the challenges we face. faced this year, “CBP), said Commissioner Troy Miller in a statement. “We are committed to balancing the need to maintain border security, care for those in our care, and ensure the safety of the American people and our workforce.”
The Biden administration has tackled a surge in migrant numbers in recent months, an outbreak that has turned into a major crisis, though officials have described it as a “challenge” instead.
While single adults and family units can be dismissed via Title 42 public health protections, the administration has not applied it to unaccompanied children. Meanwhile, Mexico has refused to take back family units with children under the age of seven. The result has been a reintroduction of so-called “catch-and-release” policies whereby some migrants are released indoors, and images have emerged of crowded facilities for migrant children.
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In March, 103,900 people were kicked out under Title 42, or 60% of total encounters.
Republicans accused the administration of fueling the crisis by reversing Trump-era policies such as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that kept migrants in Mexico for their hearings – as well as reducing priorities for application inside and stopping the construction of the border wall.
But the Biden administration instead blamed the Trump administration,
“We continue to dig the hole left by the previous administration in immigration matters,” said an administration official during the call with reporters.
Officials blamed the lack of preparedness on the part of health and social services, saying the Trump administration only requested additional beds on January 15. He also accused the previous administration of cutting funding for the Northern Triangle and ending asylum problems.
The official said the new administration had made “significant progress” since January 20, but warned that “no one should expect this to be resolved overnight.” The official also called on Congress to act to fix the immigration system.
This echoes President Biden’s own criticism of his predecessor.
“He dismantled all the elements that exist to deal with what had been a problem and has continued to be so for a long time,” he said at a press conference last month. “In fact, it shut down the number of available beds. It didn’t fund HHS to get people to take children out of these border patrol facilities where they shouldn’t be and no more than a few days – a little bit but he dismantled it all. “
Those claims fell flat with Republicans, who reported low numbers last year, as well as the mechanisms put in place to deal with migrant surges after the 2019 border crisis that have now been canceled.
Figures for March surpassed the highest monthly total during the 2019 crisis, where around 142,000 migrants were encountered in May of that year. It is likely that the numbers will continue to increase in the spring and early summer.
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Representative Steve Scalise, R-La., On “Fox & Friends” called on Biden to reimplement policies such as migrant protection protocols, and pointed to the recent openings of new facilities for migrant children as proof that the administration can’t handle the numbers coming in.
“They can’t even handle the influx of migrants, they’re taking over the military bases, the Dallas convention center, and the people on the ground are telling you they can’t control it, that it has to stop.” , did he declare. “Joe Biden must reverse this deadly devastating policy.”