The Biden administration is warning migrants that entering the U.S. illegally ‘will result in removal’ — just as there are renewed concerns about a massive surge in numbers at the southern border once the Title 42 public health order ends on May 11.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was promoting its CBP One app — which allows migrants to schedule appointments at ports of entry to request entry into the U.S. It is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to promote what it says is ‘orderly’ migration at the southern border.

‘CBP One is ready to use and makes the process better,’ the agency said in a tweet. ‘Illegal entry will result in removal.’

So far, illegal entry has not necessarily resulted in removal for those who enter the country illegally. While many are returned currently due to the Title 42 order — which allows for the rapid removal of migrants at the border due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — not all who enter illegally have been returned via the order.

CBP statistics show that only about 46% of migrant encounters at the border resulted in a Title 42 expulsion. Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified to Senate lawmakers last week that of the nearly 1.3 million migrants in FY 2022 who were processed via Title 8, only about 360,000 were deported.

The rest would be placed into immigration removal proceedings and released into the U.S. pending their hearings — which can take years. Deportations, meanwhile, have plummeted under the Biden administration.

However, the administration is also preparing for a tougher asylum rule to come into effect in the coming days ahead of the end of Title 42 on May 11, when the order ends along with the COVID-19 public health emergency.

That rule will bar migrants from being eligible to claim asylum if they have crossed into the U.S. illegally, have not scheduled an appointment via the CBP One app and have not claimed asylum in a country through which they previously passed. 

Mayorkas has emphasized, in the face of criticism from left-wing activists, that the presumption of ineligibility is rebuttable and that there are exceptions. Unaccompanied children will be exempt, and there would be other factors that could rebut the presumption, including an acute medical emergency, being a trafficking victim, and facing an ‘extreme and imminent’ threat to life or safety. But all others would be presumed to be ineligible and therefore removable.

Activists have blasted the rule as inhumane, while immigration hawks have expressed skepticism about how the rule will be implemented and how broad the exceptions will be when applied.

But the warning from CBP marks the latest in increasingly tougher rhetoric from the administration ahead of the end of Title 42. Officials have feared that the end of Title 42 will bring a new wave of migration as migrants believe that they are more likely to be released into the U.S.

CBP recently put out messages in English and Spanish warning that the border ‘is not open’ as part of an effort to deter migrants from crossing into the U.S. The administration, more broadly, has paused a major asylum shakeup while also beginning a program to hold credible fear hearings in CBP facilities.

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