Biden administration encounters 234,088 migrants at US border in April

Biden administration encounters 234,088 migrants at US border in April

The U.S. border officials encountered 234,088 migrants at the U.S. border in the month of April, topping March's 22 year high of just over 221,000, according to a court document filed Monday.

The Biden administration has crossed 200,000 monthly border encounters for the fourth time in a row. Each undocumented migrant who either reports to the authorities at legal ports of entry or tries to cross illegally and is caught is tallied as an encounter.

The numbers for May are consistent with those seen in April. Last week, CBP encountered an average of just over 7,400 migrants per day, according to internal Customs Border Protection data obtained by NBC News. If that trend continues for 30 days, CBP would have a monthly encounter rate of just over 230,000.

In April, Republicans and Democrats pressured the Biden administration to keep an anti-Covid public health measure known as Title 42 that has blocked over 1.7 million people from staying in the U.S. to seek asylum. Those who oppose lifting the order say it could overwhelm an already strained system that is responsible for processing immigrants, adjudicating their claims, and in some cases deporting them back to their home countries.

In April, 96,908 of the more than 234,000 migrants were expelled under Title 42. The percentage of migrants subject to Title 42 has dropped since the start of the order in March 2020, in part because of Mexico's refusal to take back migrants of certain nationalities, and in part because Mexico stops taking in returned migrants when its shelters on the border reach capacity.

More than 170,000 people who have been subject to Title 42 are waiting in camps in northern Mexico, hoping to enter the U.S. when the order lifts on May 23, and others may be motivated to leave their home countries and attempt to emigrate, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

In the coming days, judges in Texas and Louisiana may issue orders that would temporarily keep Title 42 in place.