Migrant arrivals at southern border soared to 22-year high in March

The figures were revealed in a court filing over Title 42.

April 16, 2022, 8:25 PM

Customs and Border Protection encountered its third-highest number of migrants ever entering the U.S. in March, also a 22-year high.

CBP encountered 221,303 migrants along the southwest border in March, federal court filings showed Friday. The most recent peak the agency encountered was over 200,000 migrants in July 2021.

Under Title 42, officials expelled 109,549 migrants and there were 12,070 expulsions under the Title 8 authority, court records show.

The largest known tally of migrants arrested at the border was 220,063 in March 2000, according to data.

PHOTO: Asylum-seeking migrants walk near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo, in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, April 6, 2022.
Asylum-seeking migrants walk near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo, in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, April 6, 2022.
Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters, FILE

The figures were revealed as part of a lawsuit that has been filed by states against the Biden administration, which are seeking to halt Title 42 from being phased out. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they would rescind the Trump-era policy by late May.

"Once the Title 42 Order is no longer in place, DHS will process individuals encountered at the border pursuant to Title 8, which is the standard procedure we use to place individuals in removal proceedings," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement on April 1.

"Nonetheless, we know that smugglers will spread misinformation to take advantage of vulnerable migrants. Let me be clear: those unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed," he added.

The policy was enforced at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by former President Donald Trump and restricted migrants from coming into the country under the guise of a health emergency. It allowed agents to quickly expel migrants without the benefit of asylum interviews.

PHOTO: Asylum-seeking migrants are taken to a van by a U.S. Border Patrol agent after they crossed the Rio Bravo, in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, April 6, 2022.
Asylum-seeking migrants are taken to a van by a U.S. Border Patrol agent after they crossed the Rio Bravo, in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, April 6, 2022.
Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters, FILE

The Biden administration is determined to move forward with lifting restrictions despite the acknowledgment that it could lead to a spike in crossings.

The Biden administration stated it was no longer necessary to control COVID-19. In response, 18 states filed suit on Thursday in in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana.

"This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this Administration's disastrous border policies from devolving into unmitigated chaos and catastrophe," the complaint read.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent two charter buses of migrants to Washington -- a move called a stunt by White House officials.

"Leaders in Congress have no idea about the chaos they have caused by the open-border policies and they refuse to come down and see firsthand and talk to the people who are really there just dropping bombs of illegal immigrants from countries across the entire globe, leaving those local communities to have to grapple with it," Abbott told reporters this week.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events