Migrant numbers at southern border exceeded 200,000 in April, prior to Title 42’s expiration

There were over 211,000 migrant encounters by authorities at the southern border in April, ahead of the ending of the Title 42 public health order, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics obtained by Fox News Digital – an increase from March’s numbers but below the same period last year. 

There were 211,401 migrant encounters by CBP in April, down 11% from the 235,785 seen in April 2022 and up 10% from the 191,956 seen in March 2023.

Over two-thirds, 67%, of those encountered were single adults, while 74,027 were expelled under the Title 42 public health order — which allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ended last week. 

The end of that order on May 11 brought with it concerns that there would have a fresh surge of migrants on top of the already enormous numbers authorities have been seeing. That appeared to be happening when in the days preceding the end of the order say over 10,000 encounters a day — but encounters have dropped since then to approximately 4,400 a day.


Officials have urged caution on drawing conclusions, but have suggested that the numbers show that the administration’s re-imposition of Title 8 penalties and other measures such as expanding legal pathways to migrate into the U.S. are having an effect.

“April marks the final month of encounters with the Title 42 public health order in effect,” an administration official said. “The pandemic-era border restriction led to an increase in repeat encounters and prevented us from imposing meaningful consequences, like a minimum five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution for unlawful entry.”

“Already, with the Title 42 order gone and our plan to humanely manage the border in full effect, the number of unlawful border crossings has dropped by more than 60 percent. It’s still early, but we remain focused on implementing our robust plan to humanely manage the border through enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy,” the official said.


In April 23% of encounters were marked as repeat encounters. Meanwhile, there were 11,478 encounters of unaccompanied children in April, down from March. Of the 211,401 migrants encountered overall in April, Border Patrol encountered 182,112 entering illegally between ports of entry.

The administration had said earlier on Wednesday that it has been “encouraged” by the end of the Title 42 public health order, and that there were signs that migrant traffic in the Darien Gap was also decreasing.

“I want to stress once again that it is still too soon to draw any firm conclusions here about where these trends will go in the coming days and weeks. And we continue to monitor the situation on our border and in Mexico and along the transit routes in real-time,” DHS official Blas Nunez Neto told reporters in a press call.

But the administration was also dealt a blow to its efforts to release migrants into the interior due to overcrowding just hours before the Title 42 order ended. A judge in Florida blocked the administration’s “parole with conditions” policy, which has seen migrants released into the U.S. without court dates. Over 6,400 migrants were released on Thursday alone, the administration said in a court filing.

The White House decried the ruling as “sabotage” and officials have warned it could exacerbate overcrowding. But the judge said the policy was materially identical to a separate policy blocked by him in March. On Tuesday evening, he imposed a preliminary injunction on the policy. He said that the order is in the public interest as it would “promote respect for the rule of law by not allowing DHS to achieve what amounts to an end-run around this Court’s decision in Florida through the adoption of a functionally identical policy to the Parole + ATD invalidated in that case.”

Republicans have blamed the Biden administration for fueling the crisis with “catch-and-release” policies while reducing interior enforcement and pushing for an amnesty of those illegal immigrants already in the country.

The Biden administration has said it is tackling a hemisphere-wide challenge and is expanding legal pathways — including creating migrant processing centers across Latin America — while imposing penalties on illegal migration and working with other countries such as Mexico.


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