An average of just 13 percent of nearly 13,000 family members who have tried to cross the border illegally were sent back to Mexico last week, according to a report undermining a Biden government chorus that most people who cross illegally will be sent back.
With Title 42 from the Trump era, U.S. Customs and Border Protection can deport migrants immediately to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
But Axios reported Tuesday that leaked data from the Department of Homeland Security shows the measure has barely been applied in recent days despite the ongoing pandemic that has wreaked damage around the world.
Between March 14 and Sunday, an average of only 13 percent of the nearly 13,000 people who attempted to enter the United States were sent back to Mexico using the public health order.
The news agency cited the data as yet another sign that the Biden government was struggling to deal with the migration surge, as a new Mexican law prevents the country from accepting migrants traveling with young children, usually listed under Title 42 would.
According to Axios, the remaining 87 percent of family members who have crossed the border are allowed to go through immigration procedures after entering the United States.
Given the fluctuations in migration flows, “one week of statistics does not reflect the overall picture,” a DHS spokesman told Axios.
“Our policy remains that families are expelled. In situations where deportation is not possible due to Mexico’s inability to take in the families, they will be involved in deportation proceedings,” added the representative.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there were only “tight, tight circumstances where families cannot be deported.”
If Title 42 is not enforced, migrants will be tested for the fatal bug and, if necessary, quarantined before being placed on a deportation trial, according to the DHS official and Psaki.
Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas insisted on Sunday that the Biden government “closed” the border with Mexico to migrant families – but said they would not turn back unaccompanied children.
“Our message was straightforward and simple. And it’s true, the border is closed.
We evict families. We evict single adults. And we made the decision not to exclude young, vulnerable children. I think we’re going ahead with our plans, ”Mayorkas told NBC News“ Meet the Press ”.