US Border Patrol made more than 158,000 arrests on the US southern border in February, a jump from January when there were nearly 148,000 apprehensions, according to newly released agency data.
Single adults continued to make up the majority of arrests, followed by families and unaccompanied children. Of the total 164,973 encounters – which includes people who approached ports of entry along the US-Mexico border – 30% had previously tried to cross the border within the last year.
A Trump-era pandemic emergency rule that allows border authorities to turn away migrants, including asylum seekers, at the border remains in effect for adults and families. There were 91,513 expulsions of migrants under the policy in February, the data shows.
“February also registered a slight uptick in the number of encounters along the Southwest border, with most individuals arriving from Mexico and the Northern Triangle, and the majority of noncitizens expelled under Title 42,” said US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus.
Over the weekend, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention terminated that rule as it relates to unaccompanied minors, who had been exempted from it under the Biden administration, after a lower court ruling forced the administration’s hand.
The White House has faced mounting pressure from Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates to terminate the Trump-era policy, which they say puts people in harm’s way. Just last week, a Ukrainian family fleeing the war in their country had also been barred from seeking asylum at the California-Mexico border but were eventually allowed into the US.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited Mexico on Monday to discuss migration with government officials. He is in Costa Rica on Tuesday.