Despite fears that floods of migrants would cross the border to seek asylum in the U.S. once Title 42 expired, federal officials say there was no such spike in the first few days.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN’s "State of the Union" that there was a 50% reduction in encounters on Friday and Saturday. He said encounters went from an average of 10,000 per day before Title 42 expired to 6,300 on Friday and 4,200 on Saturday.
But in his interview Sunday, he said it is still early and that officials are continuing to execute their plan to mitigate issues at the border.
“We have communicated very clearly a vitally important message to the individuals who are thinking of arriving at our Southern border,” he said. “There is a lawful, safe, and orderly way to arrive in the United States. That is through the pathways that President Biden has expanded in an unprecedented way. And then there's a consequence if one does not use those lawful pathways, and that consequence is removal from the United States, a deportation and encountering a five-year ban on reentry and possible criminal prosecution.”
The Biden administration implemented a phone application that gives migrants the opportunity to schedule a time to come to the border to seek asylum. The order largely prohibits those who enter Mexico from another country from coming to the U.S. to seek asylum without using the app.
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The new rule also places a five-year ban on reentering the U.S. if found crossing the border at a location other than a port of entry.
The pandemic-era Title 42 put in place by then-President Donald Trump was intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. From March 2020 through last Thursday, asylum seekers were generally required to wait in Mexico. Title 42 is no longer used to enforce immigration law as the Biden administration ended the national COVID-19 emergency.
The Biden administration’s policies have taken criticism from both sides. Immigration activists say the new rules make it too restrictive for migrants to apply for asylum. Republicans claim the Biden administration is not doing enough to secure the southern border.
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