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Homeland Security releases misleading border statistics, expert says

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U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., led a hearing Wednesday blasting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ for his handling of the border crisis.

Green’s round of questioning primarily concerned the recent border security statistics after the end of Title 42, arguing the Biden administration has changed how border stats are tracked to paint a rosier picture of the crisis.

He raised questions about the decrease in encounters at the border since the end of Title 42, which was enacted by former President Donald Trump’s administration to restrict asylum entry into the U.S. during the pandemic. He noted that the daily cases were reportedly down 70%, from 11,000 to about 3,500 but did not include the around 1,500 CBP One appointments made every day.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched the CBP One mobile app in late 2020 to help asylum seekers in Central and Northern Mexico schedule an appointment prior to presenting themselves at ports of entry.

The witnesses said the app was merely a way to speed up the process and not an admission of asylum into the country.

Chad Wolf, former acting secretary of Homeland Security, confirmed that migrants showing up with appointments through the app between ports of entry were not included in the number of daily cases reported at the border.

Wolf also said that the statistics only included illegal migrants’ encounters with the Border Patrol between ports of entry, not the Office of Field Operations which were stationed at the ports. He reported that illegal immigrants between the border were moved to the border ports to be processed and were also not included in recent statistics.

Green asked, given the total amount of border encounters being at least over 5,000, not including those who come through ports of entry with or without an appointment, if there was a significant decrease in border encounters since Title 42 went away, as was reported by the DHS.

Rodney Scott, former Border Patrol chief, answered that he did not believe there was a decrease in the numbers, calling it a “shell game” of moving data around to make the statistics seem more significant.

Scott said that during his career, the border was consistently becoming more controlled and that looking at just one day in time is misleading.

He also said that the data “is very selective about what day they choose to compare the numbers to. You need to look at a broader amount of time.”

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