More than half of all migrants at US-Mexico border expelled under health order in recent weeks

The temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, February 25, 2021, constructed to safely process family units and unaccompanied alien children (UACs) encountered and in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. The facility will provide processing capacity in the RGV while the permanent Centralized Processing Center in McAllen is renovated. CBP photo by Jerry Glaser

(CNN)The Biden administration expelled more than half of the migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border in recent weeks under a Trump-era health order that has been continued by the Biden administration, according to preliminary data reviewed by CNN.

Of the some103,000 migrants encountered by Customs and Border Protection in the three weeks through March 17, more than 61,000 were expelled under the health authority known as “Title 42.” Around 41,800 were allowed to remain in the US.

President Joe Biden said Thursday that “the vast majority, the overwhelming majority of people coming to the border and crossing are being sent back” during his first presidential news conference.

He spent much of the press conference facing questions about the crisis on the southern border, promising that conditions for unaccompanied minors arriving in the US will improve and blaming the prior administration and cooler weather for the spike of migrants at the border.

He went on to say the US is sending back the “vast majority of the families that are coming.”But the majority of migrant families detained by US Border Patrol during those three weeks remained in the US, the data shows.