Illegal Migrant Encounters Hit Record-High in April as Biden Administration Pushes to Rescind Title 42

The number of migrants apprehended along the Southern Border rose to another record high in April, according to newly released Department of Homeland Security data.

Customs and Border Patrol stopped 234,088 migrants along the border last month, according to data released by DHS in response to a lawsuit. This figure is the highest recorded number in the history of the Department, and is a 5.8 percent increase from March, which itself broke the previous record that was set in July of 2021, when 213,953 migrants were apprehended.

Of those apprehended, around 96,908 were summarily expelled under Title 42, a pandemic-era public health measure. While the largest numbers were recorded in the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio Sectors of Texas, where upwards of 40,000 migrants each were apprehended, the most expulsions occurred in the Tucson Sector in Arizona, where 18,678 were removed. However, over 110,207 aliens were released into the country, with 88,542 being “paroled” – i.e., granted temporary legal status – under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Many will be eligible for Employment Authorization Documents, i.e., U.S. work permits, after a period of residency.

Drawn from Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, a 1944 law, Title 42 has been used frequently during the Covid-19 pandemic to remove migrants who enter the U.S. illegally. Tuesday’s data comes as Judge Robert Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana prepares to rule on Louisiana v. CDC within 48 hours, a suit brought to block the Biden Administration from ending Title 42 expulsions this month.

A broad and bipartisan group of lawmakers, immigration experts, and CBP veterans have warned that ending Title 42 would lead to a “deluge” of illegal immigration. These include many allies of the Administration, notably Senator Chris Coons (D., Del.), who occupies Biden’s former Senate seat. Late last month, Theresa Cardinal Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center said that Title 42 had become the “primary tool” of controlling illegal immigration along the Southern Border.

The impact of Title 42 was evident in the data released, which also listed aliens expelled under Title 8 of the U.S. Code – i.e., the normal deportation process. By contrast, only 13,438 illegal aliens who entered through the Southwest Border were deported after a hearing before an administrative judge. Per the data, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles the normal deportation process, on average used only 34.8 percent of its detention capacity in April, with 325 being held on any given day. This was in stark contrast to CBP, which handles migrant border crossings, and whose facilities were 203 percent over capacity, with an average of 11,204 detainees every day.

Tuesday’s data were, themselves, obtained from a separate lawsuit filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In that suit, Texas v. Biden, the state has sued the Biden Administration to remove the exemption to Title 42 expulsions for unaccompanied children.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton brought the suit in April of last year. It’s part of a broad series of measures by the state – which shares a 1254-mile border with Mexico – compel the Biden Administration to take tougher measures to curb illegal immigration. Like Louisiana, Texas’ case hinges on the Administration violating the Administrative Procedures Act, which prescribes specific measures for amending or abolishing federal regulations.

U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, a Trump appointee presiding over the case, has ordered the Administration to file monthly reports of the number of crossings concerning Title 42. Immigration watchdogs have followed these reports closely into gather data on the crisis.

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