EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Migrant apprehensions along the Southwest border remained steady in February compared to January. The Biden administration attributed that to measures such as remote asylum application requirements, which have “expanded safe and orderly” migration processes.
The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday reported 128,877 migrant encounters between Southwest ports of entry in February. That compares to 128,913 apprehensions in January. Those are among the lowest apprehension monthly totals of the Biden administration.
Total encounters nationwide, including ineligible individuals processed at ports of entry as well as asylum applicants with appointments, were 212,266 in February, up 2 percent from 208,511 in January. The numbers account for a rise in apprehensions along the northern border.
The administration says 25 percent of the encounters involved individuals previously expelled from the country that tried to make their way back one or multiple times over.
Encounters with Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans between ports of entry have declined from 1,231 a day on January 5, to only 46 on February 28, DHS said.
“The new border enforcement measures kept February’s overall encounter numbers nearly even with January,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. “We are also encouraged by the new functionality in the CBP One mobile application […] The app cuts out the smugglers and decreases migrant exploitation.”
He said the agency is working to improve CBP One amid “feedback received from stakeholders.” Migrants stuck in Mexico and advocates in the United States say the app is hard to load, does not recognize faces of dark-skinned applicants and quickly times users out.
Contemplating only the Southwest border, 71.4 percent of the apprehensions were single adults. Less than half of those encountered (46.8 percent) were expelled under the Title 42 public health order, which is set to expire on May 11. Three out of five expulsions involved single adults, while only one in five family units were expelled, according to DHS data.
Encounters of unaccompanied children increased 16 percent in February, with 10,870 placed in custody in February compared to 9,382 in January. An average of 438 minors were in CBP custody in a typical day in February, DHS said.