May 11, 2023

Border Patrol encounters 10,000 migrants for third day in a row as numbers swell before Title 42 drops

By Adam Shaw, Bill Melugin| Fox News

Border Patrol agents made 10,000 migrant apprehensions Wednesday, the third day in a row to surpass that threshold as border crossings continue to surge ahead of the end of Title 42, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources told Fox News.

This week has seen the highest daily totals ever recorded for Border Patrol. Monday and Tuesday also saw historic numbers of over 10,000 a day.

Currently, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has approximately 26,000 migrants in federal custody. Capacity across the southern border is about 19,000 and multiple sectors are well over capacity right now.

Fox is told that the priority right for the agency now is avoiding images of overcrowding and processing migrants as fast as possible. Authorities earlier this week green lit "safe" mass street releases if CBP and NGO partners are unable to hold them. It means that the largest wave of mass releases in history has already begun and will continue in the coming days.

The releases come as the Biden administration is ending the Title 42 public health order late Thursday. The order has allowed authorities to rapidly expel migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 46% of all encounters resulted in a Title 42 expulsion.

With that order ending, migrants have surged to the border in the belief that they are more likely to be released into the U.S. That belief appears to be at least partially supported by the plans for mass releases by the administration. However, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said that the belief is based on misinformation, and has promised that those who enter illegally and who do not take advantage of the lawful expanded asylum pathways made available by the administration will be removed from the country.

"Smugglers care only about profit, not people. They do not care about you or your well-being. Do not believe their lies," he urged migrants this week. "Do not risk your life and your life savings only to be removed from the United States, if and when you arrive here."

The highlight of the administration's preparations for the end of Title 42 is a new asylum rule that would make migrants ineligible for asylum if they have entered illegally and failed to claim asylum in a third country through which they have passed.

The administration has also promised that penalties for illegal entry will be tougher when the public health order ends. That will include the increased use of expedited removal — which carries a five-year re-entry ban and possible criminal prosecution. It has also sent personnel, including troops, to the border. Separately, it has set up migrant processing centers in Latin America, and made agreements with Mexico for the southern neighbor to accept returns of non-Mexican migrants.

But despite the months of planning, Mayorkas conceded that he expects the days and weeks ahead to be "very difficult."

"Even after nearly two years of preparation, we expect to see large numbers of encounters at our southern border in the days and weeks after May 11th," he said. "We are already seeing high numbers of encounters in certain sectors. This places an incredible strain on our personnel, our facilities and our communities with whom we partner closely."

And despite the pressing urgency of the situation, he said that it would be a while before people would see the results of that planning.

"Our plan will deliver results, but it will take time for those results to be fully realized. And it is essential that we all take this into account," he said.

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