EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The number of migrant encounters at U.S. borders again reached a monthly all-time high in May, according to new data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Nationwide, border authorities encountered migrants 273,309 times in May, representing a 4 percent increase from the 261,780 migrant encounters in April. March and April were both record-setting months for migrant encounters.
However, about 103,000 of those May encounters, or about 38 percent, were processed for expulsion under Title 42.
Officials say that due to a large number of Title 42 expulsions, the total number of encounters “somewhat overstate” the number of unique individuals arriving at the border.
Title 42 is public health order that prohibits entry into the United States if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes it could introduce infectious diseases into the country. Title 42 was implemented under the Trump administration to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and has continued under the Biden administration.
Title 42 allows U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to immediately expel migrants from the U.S. without allowing them to request asylum but also contributes to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts.
“Current restrictions at the U.S. border have not changed: single adults and families encountered at the Southwest Border will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under Title 42,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus.
Officials process the rest under Title 8, which allows migrants an opportunity to claim asylum or face removal if they do not qualify. The process takes longer.
At the Southwest border, migrant encounters in May increased about 2 percent from the previous month, with 239,416. CBP said agents encountered a quarter of these individuals had at least one time prior in the past year.
The majority of those migrants encountered in May, 69 percent, were single adults. That represents a 2 percent decrease in single adults compared to April.
Data shows CBP officials processed 55% percent of the single adults under Title 42.
In May, officials also encountered 14,699 unaccompanied migrant children along the Southwest border, a 21 percent increase from the 12,180 encounters in April.
The number of family units encountered along the Southwest border also went up in May, with 59,282, an 8 percent increase from 55,092 in April.
CBP officials say that despite the dangerous rise in temperatures during the summer, human smugglers continue to exploit vulnerable populations and endanger the lives of migrants for financial gain.
“The terrain along the Southwest Border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert that migrants must hike after crossing the border are unforgiving,” Magnus said. “Our message to those who would try and gain illegal entry to the United States remains the same – don’t make the dangerous journey only to be sent back.”