Despite significant concerns in the lead up to lifting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) Title 42 public health order in May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week that unlawful entries between ports of entry have fallen more than 70 percent along the Southwest Border.
From May 12 to June 2, 2023, the new legal realities – notably, a return to Title 8, rather than Title 42 authority – saw DHS deport more than 38,400 people to more than 80 countries. Of these, more than 1,400 non-citizens from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela were returned to Mexico, marking the first time the government of Mexico has allowed repatriation of non-Mexican nationals at the border under Title 8 authorities. Thousands more remain in detention with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while their asylum claims are being assessed under new Circumvention of Lawful Pathways regulation.
In advance of the Title 42 expiration, the Biden administration increased the consequences for unlawful entry while expanding legal paths for applicants, although the much-touted and relied upon CBP One app has come with its own share of issues for this. Currently, the system allows 1,250 appointments per day. Nevertheless, the view issued by the DHS was that everything is working as planned, although the agency remains vigilant of changes.
“We are cognizant, however, that the conditions in the hemisphere that are driving unprecedented movements of people are still present and that the cartels and coyotes will continue to spread disinformation about any potential changes to policies at the border in order to put migrants’ lives at risk for profit,” the department said in a statement. “We will remain vigilant and continue to execute our plan, making adjustments where needed.”
At present, CBP is averaging 3,700 unscheduled encounters per day. Nearly 14,000 cases were deemed credible fear referrals and more than 11,500 such resultant interviews have been completed. In particular, three nationalities currently dominate incoming figures: Mexico (1,200 encounters per day), Honduras (520 encounters per day) and Guatemala (360 encounters per day).