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Alert: Illegal border crossings rise 25% in March, raising U.S. concerns

U.S. Border Patrol agents recorded more than 162,000 apprehensions of undocumented migrants on the southern border last month

Border Patrol agents
Border Patrol agents | Shutterstock

April 19, 2023 8:44am

Updated: April 19, 2023 6:37pm

The number of undocumented migrants apprehended while attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border increased by 25% in March, raising concern among border officials as they prepare for the end of the pandemic-era policy Title 42. 

U.S. Border Patrol agents recorded more than 162,000 apprehensions of undocumented migrants on the southern border last month, a significant increase compared to the 130,000 reported in February, according to recently released federal statistics

The figures, however, mark the lowest February to March rate of increase since Biden assumed office. Historical patterns show that undocumented migration tends to increase between February and March, as the warming spring temperatures make it easier for migrants to travel. 

"This month's encounters are down 23% from last year, and the month-over-month change is the lowest seasonal increase seen in two years," a senior administration official told ABC News. 

This month’s numbers come as the U.S. has seen a record number of migrants attempting to cross the border over the past year. Border Patrol recorded a record-breaking 2.2 million apprehensions on the southern border during Fiscal Year 2022. So far during Fiscal Year 2023, which began in October, more than one million undocumented migrants have been apprehended. With more than six months of the year left to go, authorities estimate that 2023’s numbers will surpass last year’s. 

Officials are concerned that the number of migrants might increase after the Biden administration ends the pandemic-era policy known as Title 42, which allows border officials to expel migrants to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Department of Homeland Security is expecting between 13,000 and 18,000 migrants a day—around 400,000 per month—once the policy ends in May, along with the national COVID-19 public health emergency.         

While the mass migration escalations also include many nationals leaving communist countries in the Western Hemisphere, Customs and Border Protection reported more than 18,000 unauthorized entries by Chinese nationals during the 2020 fiscal year, more than 23,000 in 2021 and nearly 28,000 last year.

According to the federal agency, the number of Chinese nationals crossing the U.S. border so far during the 2023 fiscal year was 3,000 per month in January and February, an 800% spike since the same time last year, according to a CBP source who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity. 

U.S. officials report that about half of those are entering the U.S. at the southern border, and the other half at the northern border.

While Republicans in Congress say that the U.S. Embassy in Beijing says it is still issuing “regular visa services,” according to the Republican lawmakers, ICE figures reveal that only 137 people were deported back to the People’s Republic during the 2022 fiscal year, and 136 were deported in 2021.

Those figures decreased from 726 in 2018, 637 in 2019 and 320 deported in 2020.