US border authorities have seen a 50 percent drop in “encounters” with undocumented migrants crossing the southern border since the country’s Title 42 migration policy ended, the country’s homeland security chief said Sunday.
“Over the past two days, the United States border patrol has experienced a 50 percent drop in the number of encounters, versus what we were experiencing earlier in the week,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN talk show “State of the Union.”
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“We are in day three,” Mayorkas cautioned, adding “it is too early” to predict the rate of future crossings.
Title 42 allowed the United States to swiftly expel a wide array of migrants on public health grounds, but that authority ceased Thursday when the government ended its declaration of COVID-19 as an official public health emergency.
Mayorkas said approximately 6,300 people crossed Friday, with 4,200 crossing Saturday, numbers he described as “markedly down” compared to the 10,000 per day crossing earlier in the week.
Preparing for the end of Title 42, the administration of President Joe Biden had initially braced for a surge in border crossings, deploying troops to the border.
Later Sunday, Biden repeated Mayorkas’s assessment that the number of border crossings had dropped.
The transition from Title 42 was going “much better than you all expected,” he told reporters while out on a bike ride near his beach home in Rehoboth, Delaware.
But Biden cautioned there is “a lot more work to do” and reiterated a call for “some more help from the Congress.”
He added that he had no “near-term” plans to visit the southern US border.
“It would just be disruptive,” he said.
Instead of Title 42, the United States has reverted back to an immigration law known as Title 8, as Biden’s administration tries to create a system that allows for expanded asylum and legal routes in some cases.
It also provides for strict penalties for those crossing who do not qualify, including five-year bans on entering the country and possible criminal charges.
Representative Mark Green, the Republican chairman of the homeland security committee in the House of Representatives, disputed the administration’s accounting of fewer border crossings since the policy change.
“This week has seen more crossings than any week in our history,” Green told CNN, attributing that to a surge in people crossing the border ahead of Title 42’s ending.
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