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Texas National Guard soldiers standing watch when Biden visited the border back in January. Photo: Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Texas National Guard soldiers standing watch when Biden visited the border back in January. Photo: Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Deportations are up big under the Biden administration

Roughly 85,000 migrants have been deported since Title 42 was lifted in May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

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Government officials expected an increase in border crossings when President Joe Biden lifted the pandemic-era border restriction known as Title 42 in May, but in the time since, the administration has seen a 42% drop in illegal border crossings. 

The number of those arriving in the country through the southern U.S. border is still high, according to multiple law enforcement sources and the Biden administration has been increasing deportations as a result. 

According to reporting from NBC News, over 100 migrants — mostly women and children — were seen at the airport in the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday morning, and were seen stepping off buses and onto a chartered plane that would take them back to Honduras. 

The deportation flight is run by ICE Air, a program that charters multiple planes weekly from a number of different states to send migrants back to their home countries.  

According to the Department of Homeland Security, roughly 85,000 migrants have been “repatriated” since Title 42 was lifted in May. That is a 65% increase since the same period in 2022, which saw 51,246. During the same period in 2021, there were 33,087 repatriations, according to it.

“The Department is sending a clear message about the consequences of coming to the United States and seeking asylum improperly,” said Miguel Vergara, ICE Harlingen field office director.

An increasing number of migrant crossings are being classified as legal since they schedule screening appointments at ports of entry on a mobile app but the number of migrant families with children crossing the border has nearly tripled in the past two months, raising concerns for the Biden Administration who fear overall crossings will increase. 

“Our approach of expanding lawful pathways for people to reach the border and delivering consequences for those who arrive at our border irregularly is working,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

Despite his assurances, GOP lawmakers, which include many who’ve called for his impeachment, are not feeling aligned with the DHS Secretary. 

“The reason they’re showing up at the ports of entry is because you’ve got the turnstile open,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said. “So long as they’ve downloaded this app, you just let them in."

The DHS Secretaries' testimony came a day after a federal judge blocked the administration’s new asylum policy. The judge stayed his decision for 14 days, leaving the asylum policy in place while the federal government appealed the decision.

The Biden administration has credited the asylum policy making the immigration process more in order but opponents have said that the decrease in illegal crossings is misleading, and that migrants have instead been pushed to ports of entry and are now just under different classification. 

Asylum seekers are now required to schedule screening appointments using the CBP One mobile app. The app has drawn plenty of criticism since its inception in part because it was frustrating to use. It was updated in May and additional appointments were added. 

According to a senior Customs and Border Protection official, federal authorities are now booking 1,450 appointments everyday across the southern border. This is in comparison to 300-400 a day during the early 2010s, the official said. He added that an extra 500 CBP officers have been sent to the border to help support expanded processing efforts.

Most migrants were getting scheduled within eight weeks, according to the CBP official but some are saying they struggle to apply for asylum. 

Other migrants said they’ve been in a months-long battle to get an appointment to present themselves at the port of entry. Many of them acknowledged that the Biden administration’s new policy was a factor in waiting across the border despite the challenge to get an appointment.

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