SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The number of migrant expulsions into Baja California remained high during the first two months of this year, a pattern that began in 2021, according to Colegio de la Frontera, a prominent collegiate think tank based in Tijuana.
It says on average, 385 migrants are being expelled every day from the U.S. into Baja California border cities such as Tijuana and Mexicali.
Researcher Juan Antonio Del Monte Madrigal said that in January and February, there were 22,252 total expulsions, which accounted for more than half of all ejections along the southern border.
He said the elevated numbers are a result of U.S. immigration policies such as Title 42, which allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to almost immediately expel migrants back to Mexico after being apprehended for illegally crossing the border.
Title 42 began under the Trump administration after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a directive to turn back migrants as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This notion was never proven to be accurate.
The White House has said it will rescind this measure on May 23.
“These are called recurring events given that Title 42 doesn’t allow time for immigration documentation to be recorded,” said Del Monte Madrigal. “This means the same person just tries to cross the border over and over.”
Del Monte Madrigal and his team documented one man who was expelled 14 times.
“It’s not like there were 1.7 million people expelled last year, it was total expulsions, some are recurring,” he said.
In recent weeks, the overall number of expelled migrants has gone down, said Patrick Murphy, director of Casa del Migrante, one of the biggest migrant shelters in Tijuana.
Murphy was quoted recently, stating they had seen a 50 percent drop in the number of migrants, not counting Ukrainian refugees.
“Most migrants now in Tijuana are from Central America and Haiti,” Murphy said last week.
Both Murphy and Del Monte Madrigal expect a higher number of migrants coming into Tijuana and other border cities as the elimination of Title 42 gets closer.
Tijuana migrant activist Jose Moreno Mena said many asylum-seekers believe their time is near.
“This is creating a hope within many international migrants that they will qualify for asylum and it’s likely we will have a lot more migrants at the border,” said Moreno Mena. “There will be many crossings since people know they won’t be sent back immediately while others will seek asylum at ports of entry trying to exercise their right to asylum in the United States.”