U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 164,973 encounters with illegal crossers at the Southern U.S. border in February, putting the border agency on track to exceed 2 million apprehensions in the 2022 fiscal year, an all-time record.
Of these February encounters, more than 75 percent, 126,151, were single adults. That number is up 11 percent since January when CBP documented 113,132 apprehensions of single adult border crossers.
While apprehensions of individuals in family units decreased 17 percent from 31,998 in January to 26,582 in February, CBP encounters with unaccompanied children increased by 37 percent, to 12,011, leaving an average of 520 children in custody each day in February.
The White House is deflecting blame for the intensifying border crisis by claiming that most migrants who illegally cross the border are expelled under Title 42, the pandemic-related emergency public health measure instituted by President Trump and continued under President Biden. But Biden’s Department of Homeland Security is actively working to end the Trump-era policy. Corporate media outlets are also amplifying calls for the Biden administration to abandon Title 42.
Multiple court orders have made it difficult for the White House to order an immediate stop to pandemic-related expulsions, but the president and his team are already expelling fewer and fewer illegal crossers each month under Title 42.
Approximately 66 percent of the single adults encountered by CBP in February were removed under Title 42, but that number is down significantly from the 90 percent of single adults who were expelled in February of 2021 after getting caught trying to cross the border illegally.
Since Biden assumed office in January of 2021, Title 42 expulsions as a percentage of apprehensions have rapidly declined, while monthly crossings have dramatically increased. In just one year, CBP went from processing more than 90 percent of the single adults who crossed the border for expulsion under Title 42, to 77 percent in July of 2021, and now just 66 percent in February. This ratcheting down of expulsions has been carried out under direct orders from the Biden administration.
The same is true of family unit expulsions, which decreased from 62 percent in January of 2021 to just 29 percent in February of this year.
As the Biden administration focuses its efforts on repealing border security measures like Title 42, unrest is growing in northern Mexico directly across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas. Heavy cartel fighting in Nuevo Laredo as a result of the arrest of a drug trafficker has prevented travel on streets and on Monday forced the U.S. Consulate to close its doors after it was hit with gunfire.
The Mexican government still claims that it is committed to its partnership with the U.S. to stop human smuggling, drug trafficking, and other illicit activity at the U.S.-Mexico border. But the conflict in Nuevo Laredo demonstrates that Mexico can’t be relied upon as a partner for border security.
Between Mexico’s loss of control on its side of the border, and Biden’s refusal to impose control on the U.S. side, Americans should expect illegal immigration to get much worse in the coming months, even if the corporate press ignore it.