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Illegal Entries From Mexico Rise As 'Mass Migration Event' Expected

The number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border illegally has jumped again, stretching U.S. capacity and stirring fears that the Biden administration will face a larger influx if it lifts pandemic-era restrictions next week. According to preliminary U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by the Washington Post, authorities are on pace to make more than 200,000 detentions along the border in March, the highest monthly total since August. The agency has been holding more than 15,000 migrants daily at border stations and tent facilities, exceeding capacity limits. Last month, CBP averaged fewer than 7,500 in custody per day. When the Border Patrol runs out of capacity and agents are too overwhelmed to process migrants and conduct patrols, authorities release large numbers of border-crossers, asking them to self-report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Releases are viewed as an incentive for migrant smugglers and are unpopular in border states. ICE is bracing for a “mass migration event,” and officials have urged closer coordination with charities and nongovernmental groups that can help shelter and transport migrants after they are released. Since March 2020, U.S. authorities have used the emergency public health order known as Title 42 to bypass standard immigration proceedings and rapidly deport most migrants to their home countries or to Mexico. The government has carried out more than 1.7 million expulsions, saying the Title 42 measures are needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will reassess by March 30 whether to renew the Title 42 order for adults traveling alone and in family groups. Democratic lawmakers have intensified their calls for Biden to end Title 42, describing it as a “moral imperative.”

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