This increase in encounters from February to March is typical, as winter temperatures rise with the approaching spring …United States Customs and Border Protection in its press release sharing data on encounters of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the Southwest border during March.
What To Know: In March, total encounters of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the Southwest border (191,900) increased nearly 23% from February. CBP notes the increase – typical due to a seasonal rise in temperatures – was "less compared to prior years" and is down about 14% from total encounters in March 2022. The number of family unit individuals, unaccompanied children (minors 17 and younger) and single adults (the majority of those encountered) all increased from February to March. It's important to note that some individuals can be encountered multiple times; during March, 23% of people were previously encountered by CBP at least once within the past 12 months.
Big Picture: Out of the those encountered, nearly half (46%) were quickly expelled under Title 42 – a provision re: public health safety. Just more than half (54%) were processed under immigration law, Title 8 – allowed to stay in the U.S. pursuing asylum, detained, or removed with no legal basis to remain. On May 11, Title 42 is expected to be lifted and a "surge" in encounters is expected. With Title 42 no longer in place, CBP notes they will process all encountered individuals using "longstanding Title 8 authorities," continuing, "Under Title 8, those who attempt to enter the United States without authorization, and who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be quickly removed," and will be "subject to additional long-term consequences beyond removal from the United States, including bars to future immigration benefits."
Important To Note: CBP's monthly operational update also shares data on the agency's other priorities – including combating the movement of illegal drugs into the U.S. During March, seizures of illegal drugs were up 30% from the previous month, including an 128% increase in cocaine seizures and a 25% increase in fentanyl seizures. For more info, check out this interactive chart reflecting CBP's drug seizure statistics over the past few years.
Interactive data chart from CBP: Southwest Land Border Encounters
by Jenna Lee,