Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

Fewer than expected migrants arrived at the border after Title 42 expired, but officials remain on high alert


Fewer than expected migrants arrived at the border after Title 42 expired, but officials remain on high alert

Despite warnings of a potential crush of migrants that sent thousands of federal personnel to the southern border and US cities scrambling to prepare, the days after the expiration of Title 42 saw a much narrower influx of migrants than expected.

Officials warned the expiration of the Covid-related border restriction policy, which allowed authorities to swiftly turn away migrants at the US-Mexico border, could aggravate the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. In the days leading up to its expiration, long lines formed at checkpoints and makeshift encampments proliferated in border communities.

But US authorities saw a 50% drop in the number of migrant encounters along the border over the previous two days compared to earlier in the week - before the policy, known as Title 42, ended - Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday. US and Mexican officials say the Biden administration's warnings to asylum-seekers and displays of immigration enforcement have deterred more migrants from crossing the border illegally.

The situation at the border is "very fluid," a senior Homeland Security official told reporters Monday.

"The decreased level of encounters at the border, we hope reflect both an appreciation of the new consequences that are in place for unlawful entry at the border as well as the enforcement actions being taken by our foreign partners," Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy Blas Nuñez-Neto said during a Monday briefing, noting it is too early to draw firm conclusions.

The US has deported thousands of people, including more than 2,400 people to Mexico over the last three days, Nuñez-Neto said.

There were about 6,300 border encounters on Friday, and 4,200 on Saturday, Mayorkas said, adding the number stood at around 10,000 before the Title 42 policy ended.

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