McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) – Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents report recently encountering five large groups of 648 migrants on the South Texas border, a massive uptick since the lifting of Title 42.

The large groups – each with over 100 migrants – have been apprehended since Thursday in Hidalgo and Starr counties, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials report.

Four of the groups were encountered in Starr County, which is west of Hidalgo County, and is the No. 1 area for drug seizures on the Southwest border.

“Our Border Patrol agents continue to be vigilant in their duties to secure the border day in and day out and treat everyone they encounter with dignity and respect, in stark contrast with the transnational criminal organizations who consistently place financial gain above human life,” RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said.

Large groups of migrants had not been typically encountered in the Rio Grande Valley since Title 42 lifted on May 11. With new immigration pathway requirements, most migrants who have crossed the border in between legal ports of entry since mid-May have not turned themselves in, or traveled in large groups that were easy to find. Many have been single adults and those who have tried to evade law enforcement.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in California ruled the Biden administration must stop its new migration policy rules within two weeks. These rules require migrants not to illegally cross the border into the United States; they must apply for asylum interviews via the CBP One app, and they must apply for asylum in other countries they encounter after leaving their homelands.

Chavez said the current rules remain in place under Title 8 immigration authority, which replaced Title 42.

“Migrants seeking illegal entry into the United States will be subject to removal proceedings,” she said.