The Biden administration on Monday barred Customs and Border Protection officials from sharing information about the magnitude of illegal border crossings at the southern border without approval from the Department of Homeland Security, Breitbart reported.
The gag order points to the possible end of Title 42, a Trump-era rule that allowed agents to turn illegal immigrants away because of the pandemic, as reason to limit information coming from the border. The Biden administration's directive specifically bans CBP officials from sharing data with media outlets as tens of thousands of migrants amass at the southern border.
Such an order is unprecedented as agencies post statistics frequently, Breitbart reported:
The source, not authorized to speak to the media, says the message is intended to curb routine disclosures of migrant apprehensions near the southern border. These are generally provided by Border Patrol chief patrol agents via social media and comments to journalists. The unprecedented directive was circulated on Monday and took immediate effect.
The order was sent under the title "DHS OPA guidance on social media coordination for the lifting of Title 42." The order was later clarified to impose a ban on the direct communication with outlets or platforms regarding the release of migrant apprehension statistics without DHS approval. DHS OPA is the acronym for the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Public Affairs.
Title 42 was set to expire on Dec. 21, but Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday ordered that it temporarily stay in place. The Supreme Court will decide the rule's fate in the coming days. A repeal of Title 42 could lead to a spike in illegal immigration.
The possible end to Title 42 comes as the Biden administration oversaw a record 2.4 million encounters in the latest fiscal year. Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday blamed Republicans for the border crisis.