While the Biden administration reinstated “catch and release” policies shortly after taking office, it has continued to expel most people apprehended after illegally crossing the southern border, invoking health regulations because of COVID-19.
In February 2021, authorities reported, 72,113 of 100,441 apprehended persons were expelled. Under catch and release practices, apprehended entrants who would otherwise be detained until their court appearances are released from custody in the U.S. and monitored or tracked. Those policies, revoked by President Trump as part of a broad effort to discourage immigration, were officially reinstated by a Feb. 2 Biden order.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that single adults and families apprehended at the border are nonetheless being expelled into Mexico “with limited exceptions” while unaccompanied minors are allowed to remain.