Mexico is prohibiting the U.S from sending illegal immigrant families back home at the onset of the current COVID-19 outbreak, just another step that threatens to aggravate the border surge.

The Washington Examiner reports that the decision to prevent a large proportion of non-Mexican illegal families from returning to Mexico is likely to require Border Patrol to release more people into the United States due to a shortage of facilities that house thousands of migrants who are apprehended every day.

Last week, more than 20,000 individuals were captured from the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest of the border’s nine sectors. It was the most number of illegals detained for a week in the region’s history.

Mexico discreetly refused to accept select groups of illegal families arrested at the border last week. A senior Customs and Border Protection source told the media that those were taken into custody crossing the border in one location then driven back into Mexico hundreds of miles away on another stretch of the border.

The Border Patrol, for example, began flying illegals to El Paso, Texas, when the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which borders the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, stopped allowing many families to be repatriated. Those are sent back into Mexico once they get to El Paso.

When the COVID-19 outbreak hit in March 2020, the U.S. decided to stop detaining illegal immigrants and began to turn them away at the border. Hundred of thousands of illegals have been deported back to Mexico in the past 17 months. The expulsions, known as Title 42 , were carried out to prevent sending them into overcrowded facilities where the coronavirus may spread quickly.

Unfortunately, Mexico refuses to accept Title 42.

Mexico stopped allowing families with older children to return to Mexico when Biden entered office. As a result, the Border Patrol was unable to turn them away. Biden even promised that he would cease removing families, but he has yet to do so.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued over Biden’s family expulsions, but the case was put on hold after the Biden administration promised to end this soon.

As Mexico began to refuse family reunification, the number of illegals detained has increased. In July 2021, according to the media, more than 6,600 illegals were imprisoned in facilities designed to house less than 1,000 individuals. To process cases more quickly, Border Patrol is progressively releasing them. At the same time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal department in charge of detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, will begin to intake people at the border.

Since President Joe Biden entered office, ICE has mainly avoided holding families because the Border Patrol has preferred to release people rather than transfer them to ICE, where they can only be kept lawfully for up to 20 days. ICE has set aside $87 million to house migrants in hotels for a few days before releasing them.