DHS reports over 221K people detained at southern border for March, highest in two decades

Migrants walk along the highway from Huehuetan to Huixtla in Chiapas state, Mexico
Associated Press
Migrants walk along the highway from Huehuetan to Huixtla in Chiapas state, Mexico, on Nov. 24, 2021.

Officials reported that more than 221,000 people were detained at the U.S. southern border for the month of March, the highest number of arrests in two decades.

Court filings submitted on Friday by officials said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported 221,303 arrests at the southern border for March.

Those figures include “statistics reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO), which deals with noncitizens seeking to enter at land ports of entry (POE), with statistics from the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), which apprehends noncitizens seeking to enter between POEs,” according to court documents.

The filings also indicate that in the same period, 123,304 migrants were expelled through Title 42, a Trump-era policy that the Biden administration ended earlier this month, and returned through Title 8.

In a stark contrast, figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show that for the month of February, close to 165,000 people were arrested at the southern border. The figures for March are also higher than they were a year ago, at around 173,000 apprehensions.

The Biden administration earlier this month announced that it would be rescinding Title 42, which had allowed officials to rapidly turn away migrants at the border and stop them from seeking asylum. That policy will now longer be in effect starting May 23.

“Based on the public health landscape, the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the procedures in place for the processing of covered noncitizens … CDC has determined that a suspension of the right to introduce such covered noncitizens is no longer necessary to protect U.S. citizens,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote regarding its decision at the time.

Some moderate Democrats, several of whom are up for tough reelection battles this November, came out against the move after the administration’s announcement.

Late last month, DHS discussed steps it was taking ahead of estimates that as many as 18,000 daily border crossings could start in the spring. Some of those steps include adding more “transportation, facilities, personnel and medical” to take care of, transport and house migrants. 

Tags Department of Homeland Security DHS Title 42 U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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