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Border Crisis: Biden Administration Defends Border Measures After March Spike In Migrant Encounters

The Biden administration is defending its new measures at the southern border after a 25% increase in migrant encounters in March, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data released late Monday.

CBP encountered more than 191,000 migrants at the southern border in March, which is up from the 156,000 encounters in February, according to the agency. President Joe Biden in January announced new measures to crack down on illegal immigration at the southern border.

The measures include two processes for migrants that would otherwise face expulsion under Title 42, a Trump-era public health order used to quickly expel certain migrants to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, granting them the ability to get an exemption through an interview at a port of entry at the southern border booked through the CBP One phone application and via humanitarian parole at airports. The humanitarian parole process only applies to Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans.

“The new border enforcement measures kept February’s overall encounter numbers nearly even with January,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement Monday. “We are also encouraged by the new functionality in the CBP One mobile application, which has provided migrants the ability to safely and easily schedule an appointment at a Port of Entry to request a humanitarian exception to the Title 42 public health order. The app cuts out the smugglers and decreases migrant exploitation. CBP continues to make improvements to the app to address feedback we have received from stakeholders.”

There were 27,783 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans granted exemptions to Title 42 via humanitarian parole, according to CBP. More than 74,000 migrants have scheduled appointments for exemptions through CBP One and the agency screened more 22,865 migrants in March that utilized the app.

Border Patrol encounters of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans crossing the southern border illegally in March have decreased to roughly 14,000, but only around 2,300 of those were expelled under Title 42, according to CBP.

“The continued drop in Border Patrol encounters demonstrates the effectiveness of the measures announced by the Administration on January 5, 2023, expanding safe and orderly lawful processes for migration while applying consequences to those who do not avail themselves of those processes,” a Monday CBP press release stated.

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