Biden faces influx of migrants at the border amid calls to lift limits that aided expulsions


The number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border illegally has jumped again in recent weeks, stretching capacity and stirring fears that the Biden administration will face an even larger influx if it lifts pandemic restrictions next week.

According to preliminary U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by The Washington Post, authorities are on pace to make more than 200,000 detentions along the Mexican border in March, the highest monthly total since August.

Of greater concern to CBP officials, the agency has been holding more than 15,000 migrants per day at border stations and tent facilities, exceeding capacity limits. Last month, CBP averaged fewer than 7,500 in custody per day, records show.

When the Border Patrol runs out of capacity and agents are too overwhelmed to process migrants and conduct patrols, authorities have reverted to releasing large numbers of migrants, asking them to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Such releases are viewed as a major incentive for migrant smugglers and are unpopular in border states.

An internal email sent to senior ICE officials in recent days warned that authorities are bracing for a “mass migration event,” and urged closer coordination with charities and nongovernmental groups that can help shelter and transport migrants after they are released, according to a copy obtained by The Post.


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