Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.


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Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: December 9, 2022

With this series of weekly updates, WOLA seeks to cover the most important developments at the U.S.-Mexico border. See past weekly updates here.

This week:

  • The Title 42 pandemic expulsions authority is scheduled to terminate in less than two weeks, in accordance with a November court ruling. A Biden administration appeal will not change that date, but a challenge from Republican state governments might. The Senate may soon consider a still-unpublished bill that could prolong Title 42 for a year in exchange for giving legal status to “Dreamers.” Meanwhile, preparations for a post-Title 42 reality continue: shelters are anticipating increased populations, and the Biden administration is considering other means to block or limit asylum seekers, including something similar to the Trump-era “transit ban.”
  • Migration through Panama’s Darién Gap declined by 72 percent from October to November. The main reason appears to be an October expansion of Title 42 that made it impossible for citizens of Venezuela to pursue asylum in the United States. The number of Venezuelan citizens in the Darién dropped by 98 percent.
  • In November, Mexico’s asylum system received its largest monthly number of applications in a year. Applications from citizens of Venezuela, now denied the chance to seek protection in the United States, increased by 27 percent over October.

What’s next after Title 42, if it ends on December 21

It is now less than two weeks from December 21, when, in accordance with a November 15 court ruling, the Title 42 pandemic authority is to end. Title 42 has expelled about 2.5 million people without a chance to seek asylum since the Trump administration first implemented it in March 2020.

The administration appeals

On December 7, the Biden administration’s Justice Department informed D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of its intent to appeal Sullivan’s November 15 ruling. The administration, however, is not seeking to prolong the current Title 42 order. The Justice Department filing does not ask for Judge Sullivan’s ruling to be paused: its intent appears to be to preserve the executive branch’s future ability to employ Title 42 to expel migrants for public health reasons.

The Justice Department stated that it would seek to put this case on hold while the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Louisiana and Texas) considers its appeal of another case: a Louisiana district court’s decision that had prevented the Biden administration from ending Title 42 in May 2022. The Louisiana decision had taken issue with the administration’s process for terminating Title 42, which it had planned to end on May 23. Judge Sullivan’s decision struck down the use of Title 42 entirely.

Meanwhile, 19 Republican state governments are asking Judge Sullivan to suspend his ruling. If he does not do so—as appears likely—the states could seek to have the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court hear the case. Should those higher courts agree to do so, and should they decide to stay (suspend) Judge Sullivan’s decision while appeals proceed, then Title 42 would remain in place for some time after December 21.

While the legal maneuvering proceeds, a Biden administration official told CBS News that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “continues to charge full speed ahead in preparing for Title 42 to lift on December 21.”

(For more background on this confusing narrative, see the timeline of major Title 42 developments at the end of this section.)

Possible legislation

On December 5, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent revealed that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) were negotiating a bipartisan bill to resolve the situation of “Dreamers”—up to 2 million undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children and know no life in any other country.

The current legislative session, which ends on December 31, could be the last chance to find a legal solution for Dreamers. The House of Representatives elected in November will have a slight Republican majority, and its leadership has indicated fierce opposition to any softening of immigration policy. The Obama administration executive order that had found a temporary solution for about 700,000 Dreamers (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA) was ruled illegal by a Texas judge in 2021, and the future of appeals leading to the conservative U.S. Supreme Court appears grim.

To entice Republicans to vote for a legal status for Dreamers, the Sinema-Tillis legislation, Sargent and others report, might:

  • increase resources for migrant processing,
  • hire more border agents,
  • increase prosecutions of improper border crossers,
  • quickly remove those who don’t qualify for asylum, and—most controversially—
  • extend Title 42 expulsions for at least another year.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) has expressed “serious concerns” about the proposed bill, especially the proposal to prolong Title 42, which could cause hundreds of thousands more expulsions of migrants, many of them asylum seekers. A statement from several non-governmental groups (including WOLA) under the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign opposes “a shocking proposal to extend Title 42 for another year and additional proposals that would indefinitely curtail asylum rights.”

To move forward under Senate rules (the filibuster), this bill would require 60 senators to vote to end debate and allow a vote. Assuming that all 50 Democrats back this bill—far from certain, due to progressives’ discomfort with the Title 42 extension—Sinema and Tillis would need to convince 10 Republicans to allow it to come to a vote. That may prove very difficult, as Congress approaches the final two or three weeks of its session still needing to pass the entire 2023 federal budget and the Defense Department’s authorization.

On December 8, Sen. Tillis indicated that he and Sen. Sinema expect to finalize their bill language by Friday, December 9.

Preparations for an increase in migration

It is reasonable to expect protection-seeking migration to increase at the border after December 21, if Title 42 does truly end on that date. Data, presumably from CBP, leaked to Fox News point to 207,000 migrant encounters at the border in November, which is similar to October (it is not clear whether the number includes migrants encountered at ports of entry).

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Timeline of major Title 42 developments

This (likely with a bit more editing/polish) will be in tomorrow’s WOLA Border Update, but it’s also useful as a standalone post:

  • March 2020: The Trump administration’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed the measure, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as U.S. borders closed to most travel. Citing the difficulty of detaining asylum seekers in congregate settings where viruses could spread, the order—drafted by hardline immigration opponents in the Trump White House, citing an obscure 1940s quarantine law—suspended the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. It ordered CBP to block asylum seekers from approaching ports of entry (official border crossings) and to quickly expel all migrants, regardless of protection needs, apprehended elsewhere. It was later revealed that CDC officials opposed this application of Title 42, but bent under intense political pressure. Mexico agreed to accept land-border expulsions of 4 countries’ citizens: its own, plus those of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
  • November 2020: D.C. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that Title 42 could not be used to expel unaccompanied child migrants. This decision was overturned on appeal in January 2021, just before Joe Biden’s inauguration, but the Biden administration has chosen not to expel non-Mexican unaccompanied children. The Trump administration had expelled unaccompanied kids 15,863 times between March and November 2020.
  • January 2021: The Biden administration kept the Title 42 measure in place. Of all Title 42 expulsions since March 2020, at least 81 percent have taken place since Joe Biden’s inauguration.
  • August 2021: After negotiations with the Biden administration broke down, the ACLU and other organizations resumed litigation challenging Title 42 in D.C. District Court.
  • September 2021: Following a large-scale arrival of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas— notorious for disturbing images of Border Patrol agents on horseback charging at migrants—the Biden administration began a large-scale campaign of aerial expulsions back to Haiti. Witness at the Border would count 229 expulsion flights to Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien between September 2021 and May 2022.
  • March 2022: The CDC decided that the pandemic’s reduced intensity made it possible to end Title 42 expulsions. The Biden administration set May 23, 2022 as Title 42’s termination date.
  • April 2022: Human Rights First reported tracking “at least 10,250 reports of murder, kidnapping, rape, torture and other violent attacks against migrants and asylum seekers blocked in or expelled to Mexico due to Title 42 since the Biden administration took office.”
  • May 2022: Mexico agreed to accept land-border expulsions of Cubans and Nicaraguans for a few weeks, until May 23.
  • May 2022: In response to a lawsuit brought by Republican state attorneys-general, Louisiana Federal District Court Judge Robert Summerhays issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Biden administration from lifting Title 42. The May 23 deadline was revoked, and expulsions continued.
  • August 2022: For the first time ever, migrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras comprised less than half of the population of migrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border. This was largely because migrants from these countries faced a very high probability of Title 42 expulsion, but citizens of all other countries (especially Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Colombia) were more difficult for the U.S. government to expel; most were being released into the U.S. interior.
  • October 2022: The U.S. and Mexican governments announced that Mexico has agreed to accept land-border expulsions of citizens of Venezuela.
  • November 2022: In the case (Huisha-Huisha vs. Mayorkas) brought by the ACLU and other organizations, Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down Title 42. He acceded to a Biden administration request for five weeks in which to wind down the policy. Republican state attorneys general filed a motion to allow them to intervene in the suit.

“Preparing for US War with China”

The latest edition of the US Air Force Air War College’s Journal of the Americas—which I hope will invite other genders to contribute next time—has six articles, and two of them are about China. One, ominously titled “Preparing for US War with China—2025–2032.”

Soyapango, El Salvador

From El Salvador’s Gato Encerrado, reporting on the government’s encirclement of Soyapango, a poor San Salvador suburb, with 8,500 soldiers (about 1/3 of El Salvador’s military) and 1,500 police. The troops and cops are doing sweeps to arrest people whom they believe are gang members.

Translated caption of this photo, credited to Melissa Paises: “According to the human rights organization Cristosal, the majority of the more than 56,000 people detained under the emergency regime have been young men between the ages of 18 and 30, who were detained simply for their appearance or for living in stigmatized areas such as Soyapango.”

65+ free-to-use photos of border surveillance tech

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has posted and shared, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, more than 65 photos of camera towers, aerostats, and other surveillance technologies deployed along the border. Some of this tech has “negative impacts for human rights or the civil liberties of those who live in the borderlands,” EFF notes.

Here’s one labeled “An extreme close-up shot of the lens of an Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) camera on Coronado Peak, Cochise County, AZ”:

Denying the right to asylum led to fewer asylum seekers transiting Panama’s Darién Gap

Panama just posted November records of migration through the dangerous Darién Gap jungles that straddle its border with Colombia. The result is unsurprising. They show that denying protection to people, even as it violates international human rights standards, will keep them from trying to come, at least in the short term.

Migration through the Darién plummeted 72 percent from October to November. This was led by a 98 percent drop in migration from Venezuela.

That fewer people risked crossing through the Darién Gap should be good news: hundreds each year die, are attacked, and suffer sexual violence along this ungoverned 60-mile walk. But the reason for the decline is not a happy one.

On October 12, the U.S. and Mexican governments announced that any Venezuelan citizens encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border would be swiftly expelled back into Mexico, without even affording them the chance to seek asylum. That denial of asylum is usually illegal, but the U.S. government invoked the Title 42 pandemic authority, in place since March 2020. On November 15, a U.S. federal judge struck down Title 42, so the expulsions should stop by December 21.

For now, though, the Title 42 expansion forced a pause in U.S.-bound migration through the Darién Gap. For unclear reasons, November also saw declines in migration of citizens from Peru (-92%), Colombia (-87%), Cameroon (-44%), Afghanistan (-31%), the Dominican Republic (-30%), and Ecuador (-25%). Other countries increased, though: Nigeria (+56%), China (+38%), Haiti (+24%), India (+20), and Bangladesh (+18%).

Despite the November decline, 2022 is already the busiest year for migration in the history of the Darién Gap, which until recently was viewed as nearly impenetrable.

Asylum requests are increasing again in Mexico’s system

13,217 migrants applied for asylum in Mexico’s system in November 2022, the most in a month since November 2021, according to the Mexican government’s Refugee Aid Commission (COMAR). November’s asylum requests increased 15 percent over October, and 47 percent over September.

From October to November, COMAR received the largest increase in applications from citizens of Venezuela—27 percent—though the number of Venezuelan applicants was in second place behind that of citizens of Honduras. Venezuela’s applications almost certainly increased because, after the U.S. and Mexican governments began applying Title 42 and expelling Venezuelans into Mexico on October 12, Venezuelan citizens could no longer seek protection in the United States.

All nationalities measured increases in asylum applications from October to November:

  • Venezuela: +27%
  • Haiti: +17%
  • Dominican Republic: +14%
  • Colombia: +12%
  • Honduras: +12%
  • El Salvador: +12%
  • Others: +12%
  • Brazil: +12%
  • Guatemala: +12%
  • Cuba: +11%
  • Nicaragua: +5%

Despite what you hear from some U.S. politicians and media outlets, the Americas’ ongoing migration event is not just a US-Mexico border phenomenon. People are fleeing everywhere. Colombia and others are assimilating millions of Venezuelans. Costa Rica is doing the same with Nicaraguans. And here’s Mexico.

Mexico’s use of the military for migration missions

In the past month or two, Mexico again increased the number of soldiers, marines, and national guardsmen assigned to border and migration duties. The most recent count, as of November 21, was 31,777 individual military personnel.

The numbers come from “security reports” periodically presented at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s morning press conferences, and uploaded to the Mexican Presidency’s website:

On proposed legislation to protect “Dreamers” by sacrificing asylum seekers

My bit of a joint statement released by the #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign:

“It’s good to finally see some legislative movement to get Dreamers out of the cruel limbo in which they’re forced to live,” said Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America. “But you’ve probably heard about the ‘Trolley Problem,’ an ethical thought experiment in which a person is forced to choose between two outcomes, both of which do severe harm to other human beings.

“This legislation creates a trolley problem where none need exist. It would preserve Title 42 for a year, condemning a year’s worth of asylum seekers to summary expulsion; many would face death, torture, gender-based violence, and other harm. The other choice—failing to pass this legislation—would devastate the lives of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, who are our fellow Americans.

“This is a false dilemma, a completely unnecessary choice. It should be just as possible to give Dreamers the relief they deserve, while fixing our rickety asylum system so that it can meet the demands of an era of historic worldwide migration. There is no need to harm one population to help another.”

Coca in Mexico

During the López Obrador government (since December 2018), Mexican forces have eradicated 33.6 hectares of coca, according to the country’s presidency.

(Colombia, the most energetic eradicator, reported destroying 103,000 hectares in 2021 and nearly 60,000 in 2022 through October.)

WOLA Podcast: Unprotected at the U.S.-Mexico Border

For the latest episode of WOLA’s far-too-infrequent podcast, three colleagues and I talked for nearly an hour about what we saw and heard during a week along the U.S.-Mexico border in mid-November. We’re definitely still processing it.

Here’s the text from WOLA’s website:

During a week in mid-November, WOLA staff visited both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, from El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, west through Tucson and Nogales, and on to Yuma and San Luis Río Colorado. We spoke to shelter personnel, advocates, experts, service providers, and many migrants.

The migrants we met were stranded in Mexican border cities, fleeing violence and state failure but unable to ask for protection in the United States, a right normally enshrined in U.S. law, due to ongoing Trump and Biden administration policies.

Many were from Venezuela, whose citizens the United States began expelling into Mexico, under the 33-month-old Title 42 pandemic authority, in mid-October. Many were from Central America and Mexico. Some were living in overwhelmed shelters, many others were living in a tent encampment where nighttime temperatures dropped to freezing.

In this episode, WOLA staff talk about what we saw and heard on this trip at a time when the largest obstacle to seeking asylum in the United States may be about to fall. A federal judge struck down Title 42 on November 15, while we were traveling. It could finally be lifted, and the right to seek asylum at least somewhat restored, by December 21. We discuss what may come next, and what new maneuvers the Biden administration is contemplating to deter migrants from seeking asylum after Title 42 ends.

Four WOLA staff members who visited the border in November participate in this episode:

Download the podcast .mp3 file here. Listen to WOLA’s Latin America Today podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or wherever you subscribe to podcasts. The main feed is here.

Makes my blood boil

This US government ad campaign features a crying female deportee being unloaded from a bus by people in uniform. As a desirable outcome.

The migrant population has changed drastically, but “Prevention Through Deterrence”—despite being a tragic failure—is alive and well.

Latin America-related events in Washington and online this week

Monday, December 5

  • 11:00-12:30 at the Wilson Center: Protecting, Defending and Promoting Civic Space in Central America (RSVP required).
  • 11:00 at Inter-American Human Rights System social media networks: Los retos de la independencia judicial en las democracias actuales (RSVP required).
  • 2:00-3:00 at Perspectives on Civil Society Consultation in Venezuela Negotiations (RSVP required).
  • 2:30-3:15 at CSIS and The Convergence of National Security and Homeland Security: A Conversation with DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas (RSVP required).

Wednesday, December 7

  • 10:00-11:00 at Ambassador Dialogues: US-Ecuador Relations (RSVP required).
  • 3:00 at Hispanics for Philanthropy Zoom: Migration Policy Impacts // Los Impactos de las Políticas Migratorias (RSVP required).

Thursday, December 8

  • 9:00-9:45 at the Wilson Center: A Conversation with Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta (RSVP required).
  • 2:30-4:00 at the Wilson Center: Brazil – U.S. Climate Dialogues: Research and Scientific Cooperation (RSVP required).

Friday, December 9

  • 8:00-9:00 at Hydrogen Development in Latin America: Varying Scenarios for Chile and Paraguay (RSVP required).
  • 11:00-12:00 at A Conversation with Jorge Castañeda Gutman on the Future of Democracy in the Americas (RSVP required).

U.S.-Mexico Border Update: December 2, 2022

With this series of weekly updates, WOLA seeks to cover the most important developments at the U.S.-Mexico border. See past weekly updates here.

This week:

  • Municipal riot police and other forces used force to dismantle an encampment of mostly Venezuelan migrants along the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. The site, which at its peak had roughly 1,500 people living in about 350 tents, formed after the U.S. and Mexican governments’ October 12 decision to expel Venezuelan asylum seekers across the land border into Mexico, using the Title 42 pandemic authority.
  • U.S. authorities are preparing for the end of Title 42, which will take effect on December 21 in accordance with a November 15 judicial decision. A short-term increase in protection-seeking migration is likely. Some indicators, including a record October number of migrants apprehended in Mexico, point to growth in the migrant population in Mexico and at the border. The Biden administration’s response may include an aggressive use of expedited removal and criminal prosecutions of single adult migrants. Also under internal discussion is increased access to legal pathways to protection, which could operate without migrants needing to arrive at a land border.

Mexican forces raze Venezuelan migrant encampment in Ciudad Juárez

A six week-old tent encampment in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, along the narrow Rio Grande across from El Paso, Texas, no longer exists. On the morning of November 27, Ciudad Juárez municipal police clad in riot gear, accompanied by Chihuahua state police and federal national guardsmen, evicted 500 to 600 mostly Venezuelan migrants from the site. As migrants scrambled to rescue their belongings, some resisted and scuffled with the police, resulting in several minor injuries on both sides.

The site that some called “Little Venezuela” sprung up after October 12, when the U.S. and Mexican governments announced that Venezuelan migrants—whose numbers exceeded 1,000 per day border-wide in September—would no longer be able to cross the border, turn themselves in to U.S. authorities, and ask for asylum. The Biden administration began applying the Title 42 pandemic authority, quickly expelling Venezuelans back across the border into Mexico, whose government agreed to accept them. As of mid-November, more than 8,000 Venezuelan migrants had been expelled into Mexico border-wide, more than a quarter of them into Ciudad Juárez.

A separate process announced on October 12 would allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to apply for “humanitarian parole” in the United States. This opportunity, though, is available only to Venezuelans who possess a passport and have someone in the United States willing to sponsor them.

When WOLA staff visited Ciudad Juárez on November 14-16, the tent encampment’s population was near its peak: up to 1,500 migrants living in about 350 donated tents along the paved riverbank. The vast majority were Venezuelan, and most were single adults, though a significant minority were families with children.

The population decreased somewhat as temperatures dropped to below freezing at night. It dropped further after U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s November 15 decision striking down the Title 42 pandemic authority, effective December 21 (discussed below).

Ciudad Juárez’s network of governmental and non-governmental migrant shelters, WOLA was told, had sufficient space for children and families at the encampment, and at least some space for adults. But most migrants camped along the river were distrustful, fearing that if they left the vicinity of the border they risked being sent back to persecution in Venezuela.

For days, local authorities had been entreating the migrants to leave the encampment and relocate to shelters, citing public health risks: many migrants had been falling ill, including cases of hypothermia and respiratory disease, due to cold and unsanitary conditions. At 6:00 AM on November 27, authorities arrived at the site with buses, offering once again to take people to shelters.

After two hours of mostly unsuccessful dialogue, police “evicted the migrants with shoves and kicks and demolished the makeshift shelter,” according to a detailed report in Ciudad Juárez’s La Verdad. Cleanup crews tore down the tents, throwing them into a garbage truck. “Migrants watched as workers raked up their shoes, baby blankets and other belongings they couldn’t grab quickly enough,” NPR reported.

“Tents were burned”—apparently by protesting migrants—while “punches were thrown and scuffles erupted,” the El Paso Times reported, as a phalanx of riot police led the effort to clear the camp. The police, who did not carry firearms, overcame migrants’ efforts to form a “human wall.” Some migrants threw stones, injuring at least two police. An adult female migrant suffered a blow to the head “when the riot squad was advancing at the point of shoving with shields,” according to La Verdad. Municipal human rights official Santiago González Reyes told reporters that no rights violations took place.

Border Patrol agents and other U.S. authorities closely observed the scene from the El Paso side. Perhaps 200 migrants at the site opted to cross the river and turn themselves in to the agents; most if not all faced expulsion under Title 42, which remains in force. According to the El Paso Times, about 80 agreed to enter the Mexican federal government’s large shelter, established in Ciudad Juárez in 2019, and about 14 more went to the city government’s shelter.

The rest, about 300 migrants, scattered into the city, probably to await December 21, when they believe that they will again be able to cross into the United States and seek asylum. The Mexico City daily La Jornada reported on November 29 that about 200 Venezuelans had gathered in a new site further west along the river, in Ciudad Juárez’s Las Tortugas playground park.

What to expect after Title 42 ends

Title 42’s December 21 end date results from Judge Emmet Sullivan’s November 15 ruling that Title 42 was “arbitrary and capricious” and lacked public health reasoning to justify its use to deny the right to seek asylum. The Biden administration requested, and received, a five-week cushion allowing it to “resolve resource and logistical issues.”

The administration had originally planned to terminate Title 42 on May 23, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that the measure was no longer necessary. After 24 Republican state governments filed suit, a district judge in Louisiana issued a ruling forcing the administration to keep Title 42 in place. That ruling had focused on the procedure by which the Biden administration had sought to terminate the policy. Judge Sullivan’s November 15 ruling, the result of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other groups, challenges the legality of the entire Title 42 policy, and thus supersedes the Louisiana decision.

Title 42 was used about 2.5 million times to expel migrants, mainly into Mexico, since the Trump administration launched the pandemic policy in March 2020. Its implementation has likely bottled up tens of thousands of migrants who otherwise would have sought asylum. The latest quarterly update from the University of Texas’s Strauss Center estimates “approximately 44,700 individuals on waitlists in ten Mexican border cities.” Some may have abandoned these waitlists, but many others are not even inscribed.

The end of Title 42, then, may mean a further increase in already high levels of migration to the United States, at least in the first months after December 21. Experts told Politico they expect “a stressful and chaotic transition” as the Biden administration, which was relying heavily on Title 42 to limit the number of migrants requiring processing, scrambles to increase processing capacity. A likely outcome will be an increase in the number of migrants released into the U.S. interior with pending hearings in a U.S. asylum system that remains badly backlogged.

CNN reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is projecting between 9,000 and 14,000 daily arrivals of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border after December 21. That is more than the 6,000 to 7,000 per day currently arriving, but in line with estimates of 6,000 to 18,000 that DHS issued in April, the last time that Title 42’s cancellation appeared imminent.

It is unusual to see migration increase at the onset of winter, but we are seeing early indicators that numbers are trending upward.

On November 22, the number of unaccompanied migrant children in custody of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement exceeded 10,000 for the first time since August 4; by November 29 that number had risen to 10,502. (The Biden administration does not apply Title 42 to non-Mexican unaccompanied child migrants.)

On November 30, Mexico’s Interior Department updated its migration statistics for October 2022. They showed Mexico’s National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) apprehending 52,262 people into custody that month, shattering the agency’s previous monthly record (set in August 2021) by nearly 6,000.

42 percent of migrants apprehended in Mexico in October were citizens of Venezuela; other countries of citizenship showing strong increases include Ecuador, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

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