3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Migrants apprehended in La Joya, TX 2/3
By Ted Hesson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US border agents expelled about a third of migrant parents and children traveling together and were caught crossing the Southwest border in March, according to US government data. Which undermines a claim by President Joe Biden that most families are being sent back to Mexico. About 17,000 of the nearly 53,000 parents and children captured at the border in March were removed under a COVID-related public health order known as Title 42, an administration official said during a background briefing with journalists on Wednesday. . The rest were placed in US immigration proceedings, in keeping with pre-Title 42 practice, which was implemented under former President Donald Trump in March 2020. “We are sending back the vast majority of families coming, “Biden said during a press conference on March 25. “We are trying to resolve now, with Mexico, its will to recover more of those families.” Commenting on the apparent disconnect between Biden’s statement and the latest figures, White House spokesman Vedant Patel said the administration’s policy is to expel single adults and families to Mexico under Title 42 if they are caught. crossing the southwest border illegally, but added that he does not. always happens. “In the event that Mexico cannot receive an individual or a family, they are placed in immigration proceedings in the United States,” he said in a statement. Biden has defended his administration’s handling of an increase in border crossings in recent months. Republicans have criticized Biden, a Democrat, for easing some Trump-era restrictions, arguing that his policies have encouraged illegal immigration. Biden and his top officials have blamed Trump for dismantling systems for receiving asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors. In all, more than 172,000 migrants were seized at the US-Mexico border in March, according to the administration official. Of those arrests, approximately 168,000 people were detained by border patrol agents between ports of entry, the highest monthly count since March 2001, when nearly 171,000 were captured. Reuters reported preliminary numbers of similar border arrests last week. For much of the past year, unaccompanied children arriving at the border were removed to Mexico under Title 42, but Biden exempted them from removal in February. Since then, a growing number of unaccompanied children have been detained at the border and allowed to enter the United States to pursue immigration cases. The increase has led to overcrowded conditions at border stations and processing centers. In March, border agents captured about 19,000 unaccompanied children trying to cross the border, the administration official said Wednesday, up from about 6,000 in January. The administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss the border figures with journalists, said that the expulsion of families back to Mexico is limited by Mexico’s ability to receive them in the state of Tamaulipas, which is located across the Valley. from the Rio Grande of Texas, where many families have been arriving.