White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was slammed by critics after claiming that undocumented immigrants had declined by 90% under the Biden administration’s humanitarian parole program, despite a recent surge in migration at the border.
“You’ve seen the parolee program be so successful,” Jean-Pierre said during her press briefing. “It has, it has, it has, when it comes to illegal migration, you’ve seen it come down by more than 90%, and that’s because of this act — the actions that this president has taken.”
The parole program was implemented in October to allow up to 30,000 asylum seekers from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela per month to enter the country and obtain a two-year work permit if they have a U.S. sponsor and can pass a background check.
The program did contribute to a drop in apprehensions at the border, from a record of 252,012 undocumented migrants encountered in December down to 156,787 in January. However, the victory was short-lived and by March the number of encounters increased to 191,899, according to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Fiscal Year 2022 ended with the highest ever-recorded number of migrant encounters: 2,378,944.
During the past 10 days alone, the number of migrant apprehensions at the border has skyrocketed, with more than 73,000 migrants crossing the border. More than 22,220 undocumented migrants were apprehended in a period of 72 hours alone. Additionally, authorities believe there have been more than 17,000 “gotaways,” or migrants who avoided apprehension.
The rise in apprehensions at the border comes as the end of the pandemic-era immigration policy Title 42 is nearing on May 11. Title 42 was implemented in March 2020 to allow border patrol agents to quickly expel undocumented migrants without allowing them to apply for asylum in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.