A chronology of events related to U.S. border governance and migration

May 29

The Biden administration announced a plan to fast-track the hearing process for asylum seekers arriving at the southern border. Using a Dedicated Docket process, immigration judges hearing cases in specifically dedicated major cities would decide cases within 300 days of an initial hearing. It is important to note, though, that some migrant advocacy groups worry that prioritizing speed may come at the sacrifice of due process.

Tags: Asylum, Immigration Courts

May 26

According to Alejandro Mayorkas, security secretary of DHS, the Biden admin seeks to leave the agency’s budget unchanged at $52.2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year, despite probable migration surges along the border. All other federal agencies are receiving substantial increases in funding.

Tags: Budget, DHS

May 25

Customs and Border Patrol has proposed the construction of a second centralized migrant processing facility in El Paso, Texas, where migrant families will be held. CBP is currently in the process of acquiring land for the facility, which according to a July 2020 environmental assessment, would accomodate for 965 detainees and a staff of 200.

Tags: CBP, El Paso

May 24

The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General released a report which documented cases of ICE agents expelling separated parents without their children, despite knowing that those parents wanted their children with them. The report also notes that it was unclear whether or not ICE gave some parents the option to reunify with their children before being expelled from the U.S. These cases occurred under the Trump administration’s family separation program. Between July 2017 and July 2018, as many as 348 parents were expelled from the U.S. without their children, with no documentation of whether they had agreed to be separated.

Tags: Expulsions, Family Separation, ICE

May 18

The Defense Department has received a request from Homeland Security requesting that National Guard troops remain stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border into the 2022 fiscal year. Currently, about 4,000 National Guard troops provide some form of support along the border, and it is unclear how many troops have been requested to stay or for how long.

Tags: Military Deployments

May 17

Mexico faces an escalating humanitarian emergency due to the unprecedented number of migrants travelling through Mexican territory. At the border, the Mexican government must—but has failed to—develop a strategy to accommodate for the tens of thousands of migrants in transit or expelled by U.S. authorities, instead, outsourcing the responsibility to underequipped private and religious organizations. The problem only continues to worsen as migrant populations are on the rise.

Tags: Human Rights

May 17

Due to pressure from advocates and a lawsuit raised by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Biden administration has conceded to narrow changes to Title 42 expulsion policies. These changes include an end to both lateral expulsion flights and late night expulsions. The Biden administration has also agreed to allow up to 250 vulnerable migrants into the U.S. per day, working with a consortium of nongovernmental organizations to identify at-risk migrants. These concessions are meant to buy the Biden administration time before the public health order is fully lifted.

Tags: Asylum, Coronavirus, Expulsions

May 12, 2021

Arrests and detentions on the US-Mexico border rose slightly during April to 178,622. The number of unaccompanied minors, as well as the number of minors in custody, has dropped slightly.

Tags: CBP, Unaccompanied Children

May 6, 2021

Federal charges have been filed against Antonio Hurtado, the captain of a boat that ran aground near San Diego and killed three migrants. 

Tags: Migrant Deaths, San Diego

April 30, 2021

The Biden administration is considering a policy change that would allow some immigrants with humanitarian exceptions to await court hearings in the U.S. The change would allow Mexican organizations to identify especially vulnerable migrants and share their data with CBP, speeding up the screening process. 

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, U.S. Policy