The Biden administration no longer relies on COVID-19 emergency measures under Title 42 of the U.S. Code (Title 42) to return illegal border crossing families to the border.
The vast majority (upwards of 85 percent) of illegal immigrant families, now apprehended by Border Patrol, are quickly released into the U.S. territory.
A senior Border Patrol official said in a March 26 telephone interview that Border Patrol apprehended a total of 6,000 people at the Southwest border on March 25.
Officials said 2,200 of those arrested were families who crossed the border illegally, of which 1,900 were released and 300 were deported under Title 42.
“The percentage, now, is a little higher than it was before,” the official said, “and we’re going to continue to try to use the jurisdiction of Title 42 as much as possible.”
Most single adults who are arrested are still deportable under Title 42.
Families who are released may receive a notice to appear with a court date to begin their immigration proceedings, or they may receive no documents and be released only “on their own recognizance,” the official said.
The Biden Administration has come under fire recently for sending thousands of illegal immigrants across the country while businesses and schools remain closed due to the Epidemic, as the surge in immigration has led to overcrowding at U.S. border facilities and possible health hazards.
A border official interviewed by the Epoch Times said a Texas facility is cramming as many as 80 people into each 24-by-30-foot cell.
The border official, who asked not to be named, said, “Unfortunately, on any given day, there could be more than 9,000 people in custody, and that certainly puts quite a strain on our resources.”
The number of illegal border crossings in February reached a 14-year high, with more than 100,000 crossing the border during the month. A Border Patrol agent told The Epoch Times that as of March 25, the number of border crossings in March had surpassed the number in February.
The senior Border Patrol official said, “I fully expect that we will see some more increases in the next few months.”
Generally, illegal border crossings increase slightly during the spring and summer months.
During the 2019 border surge, the number of illegal border crossings reached a high point in May, with more than 144,000 apprehensions during the month. Meanwhile, in some areas, more than 40 percent of border agents were moved off the border to help care for families and children crossing the border.
While the large number of families crossing the border depletes the resources of the Border Patrol in one sector, it also gives Mexican drug cartels the opportunity to smuggle drugs and criminals through nearby unpatrolled areas.
Brian Hastings, head of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector in South Texas, reported that so far this fiscal year, his sector has identified more than 861 criminals, including 92 sex offenders and 63 gang members, among illegal aliens.
Currently, illegal border crossing families and unaccompanied minors most often come from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. However, the senior border official said the number of illegal immigrants from Ecuador, Brazil and Cuba is also on the rise.
U.S. President Joe Biden on March 24, delegated the primary responsibility for resolving the border crisis to Vice President He Jinli, saying she is “the most qualified” to handle the situation.