EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – More single adults came across the border last month and fewer families presented themselves to U.S. authorities, but the net result was another increase in federal encounters with unauthorized migrants at the Southern border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures released Tuesday show its agents encountered 164,973 migrants on the Southwest land border in February, a 7% increase over January. Almost one million migrants (967,743) have now been apprehended or turned themselves in to file asylum claims since Oct. 1. That number topped 1.95 million in fiscal year 2021 just in the Southern border; nationwide encounters topped 2 million last year.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said most individuals stopped in February were citizens of Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Central America. He said most of the new arrivals (55%) were expelled under the Title 42 public health order.
The agency noted that 30% of those who were stopped had tried to cross the border without authorization at least once in the previous 12 months. Immigration advocates say Title 42 expulsions force migrants determined to enter the United States to attempt additional crossings, often over remote and dangerous areas such as deserts.
Sixty-six percent of adults apprehended in February were expelled, compared to only 29% of those who were part of a family unit. Some 12,000 unaccompanied minors came across the border in February; only Mexican citizen minors aren’t exempt from Title 42 expulsions.
Most new arrivals were citizens of Mexico, Central America, Cuba and Colombia, figures show.
On the drug front, CBP officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents noted a 21% decrease in seizures of fentanyl in February. That’s the synthetic opioid that’s been fueling drug overdose deaths in America in the past year. However, CBP reported sharp increases in seizures of heroin (173% over January), methamphetamines (97%), and cocaine (83%).