The reported figure is the highest since August and foreshadows a probable increase in illegal border crossings after Title 42 expulsions end in May.
In Texas sectors, apprehensions of family units increased by about 31 percent, with over 20,000 taken into custody in March compared to more than 15,000 the month before. Arrests of single adults increased by one-third from over 73,000 in February to nearly 98,000 last month. There was a 32 percent increase in total encounters in Texas sectors from February to March.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on April 1 that the application of Title 42 public health statutes to expel illegal aliens would end on May 23. Following the decision, DHS reportedly estimated that up to 18,000 illegal aliens could be encountered every day after the use of Title 42 ends.
In a news release on Monday, CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus highlighted the portion of illegal aliens slated for expulsion last month under Title 42.
“CBP continues to enforce the CDC’s Title 42 Public Health Order. Half of migrants encountered in March were processed for expulsion under Title 42, and those who were not processed under Title 42 continue to be processed for removal under Title 8, the same authorities CBP has used throughout our history,” Magnus said.
The commissioner added that “we may likely see an increase in encounters” when Title 42 enforcement expires and that the agency is “surging personnel and resources to the border” in preparation.
Those who cross unlawfully will still be eligible for deportation under Title 8, the U.S.’s regular immigration laws, if they do not present a legitimate asylum claim or other legal reason to be in the country. However, per guidelines distributed by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the federal government has not prioritized deportations except in limited cases, such as a known public safety risk.
The population of illegal immigrants increased by about 1.13 million in the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency, according to an estimate by the Center for Immigration Studies.
In an effort to draw attention to illegal immigration, Gov. Greg Abbott began providing transportation to illegal aliens who volunteer to go to Washington, D.C.
Abbott has also made border security pacts with the governors of the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas.
CBP reported over 221,000 enforcement encounters along the southwestern U.S. border in March. However, only about 160,000 of those encounters were with “unique individuals” as many people are caught crossing the border illegally multiple times.
Just over three-quarters of those apprehended in the southwestern U.S. were single adults.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."