The U.S. is imposing new immigration rules along its southern border after the expiry Friday of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy, with President Joe Biden earlier warning the situation could be “chaotic for a while.”
The widely-criticized law, implemented by former President Donald Trump, allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants, including asylum seekers, using COVID-19 as justification for their removal. In total, around 2.8 million migrants were expelled from the U.S. under the law.
American authorities believe the number of migrants who may try to enter the country now that the law has lifted may skyrocket in coming days.
Here’s a look at the migrants who entered the U.S. under Title 42 in three charts.
The majority of migrants who attempted to enter the U.S. in 2022 came from Mexico, data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) shows.
More than 808,000 Mexicans crossed the southern border last year, and Title 42 was used to expel them 86% of the time, according to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights advocacy group.
Between March 2020 and May 2023, Title 42 was used as justification to expel migrants from the U.S. 2.8 million times. That accounts for 50% of migrants encountered by U.S. border agents over this period. Typically, migrants were sent to Mexico, WOLA notes.
The vast majority of migrants who crossed the southern U.S. border while Title 42 was in place were single adults, USCBP data shows. Between 2020 and 2023, the number of migrants who tried to cross the border increased, indicating that the legislation did not deter people from attempting to enter the country.
Unaccompanied minors made up a small fraction of those migrants who entered the U.S. in this period, but they were exempted from expulsion.