UNITED STATES NEWS

Migrant crossings spike as US plans to lift curb on asylum

Apr 18, 2022, 2:30 PM | Updated: Apr 19, 2022, 9:48 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Migrants attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at the highest level in two decades as the U.S. prepares for even larger numbers with the expected lifting of a pandemic-era order that turned away asylum seekers.

Immigration authorities stopped migrants 221,303 times along the Southwest border in March, a 33% increase from a month earlier, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released Monday.

The new figures were disclosed as the Biden administration comes under increasing pressure over the looming expiration of a public health order that enabled U.S. authorities to turn back most migrants, including people seeking asylum from persecution.

The number of migrant encounters has gone up nearly every month since President Joe Biden took office, becoming fodder for political opponents who point to the increase as evidence that this administration is weaker on border security than its predecessor.

A backlog of people waiting outside the country to seek asylum, as well as dire economic and political conditions in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, is partially responsible for the increase in migrants. Administration critics blame Biden, arguing his administration’s moves to roll back Trump-era policies has encouraged people to come.

The number of illegal crossings, or those outside official ports of entry, totaled 209,906 in March, surpassing the previous high of Biden’s presidency of 200,658 set in July, and the highest level since March 2000, when it reached 220,063.

Former President Donald Trump also faced a sharp increase in migrant border crossings but the number plummeted with the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, the previous administration invoked Title 42, a little-used public health authority to quickly expel nearly anyone encountered along the Southwest border.

U.S. authorities have expelled migrants more than 1.7 million times under Title 42 authority, named for a 1944 public health law, using the threat of COVID-19 to deny migrants a chance to seek asylum as required under U.S. law and international treaty.

With COVID-19 cases in decline, the Biden administration has said it intends to end the use of Title 42 at the border on May 23.

Several moderate Democrats have joined Republican leaders to call for an extension of Title 42 authority. Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat up for election this year, toured the border last week and warned that the Biden administration is unprepared for asylum restrictions to be lifted.

Human rights groups and other migrant advocates say the U.S. has a legal obligation to permit people to seek asylum and have called for the lifting of the public health order. “The United States can and must welcome people seeking asylum because it is the law, because it is right, and because we can,” the Catholic Legal Immigration Network said in a statement Monday to mark Holy Week.

The rapid expulsions under Title 42 are a significant component of the recent increases. Migrants are turned back without any legal consequences, and many simply try to cross again and are therefore counted more than once in the total.

CBP said the number of unique individuals encountered nationwide in March came to 159,900, a 37% increase from the prior month.

More than half of the total 221,303 stopped were quickly turned away, without being given a chance to apply for asylum, either to Mexico or their homelands, according to data supplied to a federal court in Texas as part of that state’s challenge of Biden administration immigration policies.

CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement that the agency planned to send additional staff to the Southwest border to handle the “likely” increase expected when Title 42 is lifted.

Most of the rest were processed under immigration authority, known as Title 8, and their ultimate fate varies. About 34,000 were allowed to remain in the U.S. under parole, which will allow them to pursue asylum or legal residency through other avenues. If they are unsuccessful, they could face deportation.

Mexicans made up the largest group by nationality of those encountered at the border, followed by Cubans. The number of Ukrainians, who are generally being allowed into the country on humanitarian parole, increased to over 200 in March from just 5 in November.

___

Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

A woman in conservative dress walks past a menorah standing outside a Jewish synagogue ahead of the...

Associated Press

Hanukkah message of light in darkness feels uniquely relevant to US Jews amid war, antisemitism

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Preparing for Hanukkah — Judaism’s celebration of finding light in the darkness — feels uniquely somber yet defiant this year for the diverse Jewish community in Miami-area towns that many consider a welcoming home for their faith. Even here, daily life for many Jews has been upended by the surprise […]

18 minutes ago

FILE - Emmitt Glynn teaches to a group of Baton Rouge Magnet High School students, Jan. 30, 2023, i...

Associated Press

College Board revises AP Black history class set to launch in 2024

The College Board on Wednesday released an updated framework for its new Advanced Placement African American Studies course, months after the non-profit testing company came under intense scrutiny for engaging with conservative critics. The revision includes more material on topics including the Tulsa Race Massacre, Black culture’s influence on film and sports, and discriminatory practices […]

24 minutes ago

Associated Press

Suspect in custody after 6 dead and 3 wounded in series of attacks in Texas, authorities say

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A daylong series of attacks in Austin has left four people dead and at least three wounded, and a man believed to be connected to them and the deaths of two people near San Antonio was taken into custody, Texas authorities said. Those who died were found in two homes in […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken, Nov. 3, 2022, i...

Associated Press

A new Homeland Security guide aims to help houses of worship protect themselves

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new guide from the Department of Homeland Security released Wednesday aims to help churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship protect themselves at a time of heightened tensions in faith-based communities across the country. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an arm of Homeland Security, works with faith groups across […]

2 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the White House Tribal Nations Summit at the Department of the...

Associated Press

Biden to sign executive order on federal funding for Native Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Wednesday during a tribal nations summit that aims to make it easier for Native Americans to access federal funding and have greater autonomy over how to invest those funds. “Tribal nations still face unacceptable barriers to fully exercising their inherent sovereignty, and really […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Heavy fighting in Gaza halts most aid delivery and leaves civilians with few places to seek safety

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces battled Hamas militants across Gaza on Wednesday in intense fighting that has prevented the distribution of vital aid in much of the territory and brought some of the devastation and mass displacement seen in the north to the south. As the focus of the ground offensive moves […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.

...

Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.

...

DAY & NIGHT AIR CONDITIONING, HEATING AND PLUMBING

Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Migrant crossings spike as US plans to lift curb on asylum