Border Crossing Rates Uncertain After Title 42 Expires

C( – Biden administration officials have been almost begging would-be immigrants not to believe they will have an easier time crossing the U.S. border after a rule change but to no avail.

Title 42, a COVID-era public health rule that allowed the U.S. to quickly expel migrants at the border expired on May 11th. Border cities warned that thousands more immigrants than usual were lined up at the border in anticipation of the expiration.

While there appears to have been an initial surge in numbers, a report from Customs and Border Protection shows that “migrant encounters” remained steady in April, and were a bit below the numbers for that same month a year ago.

The CBP data shows 211,000 encounters took place at the U.S.-Mexico border in April 2023, compared to 235,785 in April 2022. No data from the month of May is yet available.

More than two-thirds of would-be migrants were single adults, and 74,027 hopefuls were turned back under Title 42 before it expired.

One Biden administration official told Fox News that Title 42’s expiration would not necessarily hamper expulsion efforts. The U.S. can use another rule called Title 8, the official said, which allows the U.S. to impose tougher penalties on illegal border-crossers, such as a five-year ban on re-entry. The official said Title 42 actually led to more “repeat encounters” with the same border crossers as it allowed expulsion but not further punishments.

In the days immediately following Title 42’s expiration, migrant encounters were up to about 10,000 per day, but that has dropped to less than 5,000 in the days since May 11th.

On May 17th, the Biden administration said it was pleased with the developments since Title 42 went out of effect as border encounters were dropping in frequency.

The total number of migrant encounters in April was 211,401. The majority, 182,112, were illegal border-jumping attempts that took place away from official entry points.

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