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An average of just 13 percent of nearly 13,000 members of families who tried to cross the border illegally were turned back to Mexico last week, according to a report — undermining a chorus from the Biden administration that most people crossing unlawfully are sent back.
Trump-era Title 42 allows the US Customs and Border Protection to immediately deport migrants to stem the spread of COVID-19.
But Axios reported Tuesday that leaked Department of Homeland Security data shows that in recent days the measure has hardly been used despite the ongoing pandemic that has wreaked damage across the world.
Between March 14 and Sunday, an average of only 13 percent of almost 13,000 people trying to enter the US were sent back to Mexico using the public health order.
The news outlet cited the data as another sign of how the Biden administration has been struggling to handle the migration surge, as a new Mexican law prevents the country from accepting migrants traveling with young children who would typically be expelled under Title 42.
The remaining 87 percent of the family members who crossed the border will reportedly be allowed to go through immigration proceedings after they entered the US, according to Axios.
Given fluctuations in the migration flows, “one week of statistics doesn’t reflect the full picture,” a DHS spokesperson told Axios.
“Our policy remains that families are expelled, and in situations where expulsion is not possible due to Mexico’s inability to receive the families, they are placed into removal proceedings,” the rep added.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there are only “narrow, narrow circumstances in which families can’t be expelled.”
When Title 42 is not invoked, migrants are tested for the deadly bug and quarantined if needed before being placed in removal proceedings, according to the DHS official and Psaki.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday insisted the Biden administration has “closed” the border with Mexico to migrant families — yet said they will not turn back unaccompanied children.
“Our message has been straightforward and simple. And it’s true, the border is closed.
We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults. And we’ve made a decision that we will not expel young, vulnerable children. I think we are executing on our plans,” Mayorkas said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
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