Homeland Security begged would-be illegal immigrants not to attempt to cross into the U.S. this weekend, saying they are risking their lives amid life-threatening low temperatures.
The department, in an unsigned statement Christmas Eve, said those who come run the risk of being “returned,” making their trip futile.
“As temperatures remain dangerously low all along the border, no one should put their lives in the hands of smugglers, or risk life and limb attempting to cross only to be returned,” officials warned.
The department cited the Title 42 pandemic border expulsion policy as one outcome, even as the administration fights at the Supreme Court to end Title 42 altogether.
“Regardless of nationality, anyone attempting to enter without authorization is subject to expulsion under Title 42. Those who cannot be expelled pursuant to Title 42 may be placed in expedited removal and anyone ordered removed subject to a bar on entry for 5 years under Title 8,” the department said.
The problem for the department is that description doesn’t match the reality on the ground, where the majority of migrants are being caught and released — or never stopped at all.
New border numbers released Friday showed that fewer than 30% of migrants who jumped the border in November were expelled under Title 42.
And the expedited removal process the department cited is anything but expedited.
Department data revealed by Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, last week showed that just 7% of migrants put into expedited removal in 2022 were deported.
That’s down from 69% during the Obama administration.
The Times has inquired several times about those numbers with Homeland Security, but the department has not responded.
Tens of thousands of migrants have massed in Mexico, and more are believed to be on the way from Central and South America, anticipating the end of Title 42.
Even with Title 42 in place, November saw one of the worst months on record, with the Border Patrol apprehending 206,239 illegal immigrants sneaking in between the ports of entry. CBP officers nabbed another 27,501 coming through the official border crossings without permission.