The U.S. Border Patrol, in a relentless struggle against a surge of illegal border crossings, has recorded over 10,000 migrant apprehensions for three consecutive days, marking the highest daily totals in the agency's history, according to sources within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cited by Fox News.
The record-breaking apprehension figures precede the imminent expiration of the Title 42 public health order, fueling a dramatic increase in migrant influx.
Following the historic counts of over 10,000 daily apprehensions at the start of the week, CBP is now grappling with a population of approximately 26,000 migrants in federal custody. This number significantly overshadows the southern border's capacity of about 19,000, pushing multiple sectors into a state of overwhelming congestion.
Given the urgent need to prevent images of overcrowding, the agency's immediate priority is expediting the processing of migrants.
Earlier this week, officials approved the "safe" mass street release of migrants, marking the beginning of the largest wave of such releases in history. The move comes as a response to the incapacity of CBP and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to accommodate the swelling migrant population. This trend is expected to persist in the days to come, Fox News reported.
The mass releases are occurring concurrently with the Biden administration's decision to discontinue the Title 42 public health order, which permitted the rapid expulsion of migrants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This order, which accounted for 46% of all migrant encounters in March, will officially lapse on Thursday.
The termination of Title 42 has seemingly bolstered the belief among migrants that they stand a higher chance of being released into the U.S., a notion partially validated by the administration's plans for mass releases. However, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has contested this belief, branding it as misinformation. He affirmed that those who enter the U.S. illegally, without leveraging the expanded lawful asylum pathways provided by the administration, would face removal.
In preparation for the end of Title 42, the administration has proposed a new asylum rule. This rule stipulates that migrants will be ineligible for asylum if they have entered the U.S. illegally and neglected to claim asylum in a third country they traversed en route to the U.S.
Additional measures include stricter penalties for illegal entry, increased usage of expedited removal, deployment of additional personnel, including troops, to the border, establishment of migrant processing centers in Latin America, and agreements with Mexico to accept the return of non-Mexican migrants.
Despite these preparations, Secretary Mayorkas anticipates the days and weeks following the expiry of Title 42 to be "very difficult."