Posted on April 19, 2023

U.S. Border Officials Record 25% Jump in Migrant Crossings in March Amid Concerns of Larger Influx

Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, April 17, 2023

The number of migrants apprehended by U.S. immigration authorities after crossing the Mexican border without authorization increased by 25% in March as the Biden administration prepares for a major policy shift next month.

U.S. Border Patrol agents recorded over 162,000 apprehensions of migrants in between official ports of entry last month, a jump from the 130,000 apprehensions reported in February, federal statistics released Monday show.

The increase in migration follows a historical pattern of border crossings spiking in the spring. Despite the uptick, the number of migrant apprehensions last month was lower than the tallies recorded in March 2021 and March 2022.

Still, unlawful migration to the U.S. southern border continues to be at historically high levels, and concerns of a broader influx of illegal crossings have intensified as U.S. officials prepare to discontinue a rule known as Title 42 that has allowed them to summarily expel hundreds of thousands of migrants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Absent any major policy pivot, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing for up to 13,000 migrants to cross the southern border per day, about 400,000 each month, once Title 42 lifts in early May, according to internal projections. The Trump-era order is set to lapse once the national COVID-19 public health emergency expires on May 11.


The rise in migrant arrivals in March marks the first time that migration levels have increased significantly since President Biden announced a series of new measures earlier this year to discourage illegal border crossings and encourage migrants to wait for a chance to enter the U.S. legally.

In January, the Biden administration convinced Mexico to accept additional expelled migrants, expanding Title 42 to expel Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who attempted to enter the country unlawfully. {snip}

At the same time, the administration started allowing migrants in Mexico to apply for a chance to enter the U.S. at a border port of entry through a mobile app known as CBP One. It also committed to admitting up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela each month if Americans agreed to sponsor them.


The increase in border apprehensions last month largely stemmed from an increase in crossings among migrants from Mexico, Colombia and Peru. The uptick occurred across demographics, with officials recording higher levels of apprehensions of single adults, families and unaccompanied children than in February.


Border Patrol has reported over one million migrant apprehensions in fiscal year 2023, with another six months still to go. The agency recorded 2.2 million apprehensions along the southern border in fiscal year 2022, a record high.