Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has released more than 60,000 migrants into the U.S. since President Biden took office in January, as the administration has scrambled to deal with a dramatic surge in numbers at the border — which critics say is a crisis of its own making.
Since February, 61,312 migrants have been released into the interior with either a Notice to Appear or an I-385, which fast tracks migrants out of custody with a notice to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.
Just 47 migrants were released between October and the end of December. In January, 1,317 migrants were released. Then that number increased to 8,797 in February, and then rocketed to 26,282 in March and 26,233 in April.
The numbers, first reported by The Washington Examiner, show the effect of not only the surge in migrants to the border, but also how the administration’s efforts in regards to families has been on processing and releasing them into the interior to reduce pressure on border facilities.
Numbers of migrants skyrocketed within weeks of President Biden taking office, although officials have noted that migrant encounters had been steadily increasing since April. More than 178,000 migrants were encountered in April — including more than 13,000 unaccompanied children.
Critics have blamed the administration’s rollback of Trump-era policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the construction of the border wall and asylum cooperative agreements with Northern Triangle countries for encouraging the surge.
The Biden administration has blamed “root causes” in Central America and a lack of preparedness by the Trump administration. However, the refusal of parts of Mexico to take back certain migrant families has exacerbated the issue and led to the release of migrants into the interior.
Earlier this week, acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said that one northern Mexican state stopped taking in migrant families from the Northern Triangle with tender-age children just days into the new administration.
He said that led to a surge that, months later, would lead the agency to begin releasing migrants into the interior without Notices to Appear, instead just giving them a notice to appear at their local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.
CBP data also show that the agency transferred more than 75,000 migrants to ICE and Health and Human Services (HHS).
There are currently more than 19,000 unaccompanied children in HHS custody, where officials are focused on caring for children and connecting them with “sponsors” — relatives, some of whom are illegal immigrants themselves, already in the country. The administration has been paying for travel costs for both children and sponsors.