Border Patrol agents have seen the number of migrants crossing the US from Mexico drop by 50 percent since Title 42 expired at midnight Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
The number had soared leading up to the end of the pandemic restriction, reaching more than 10,000 a day.
But Mayorkas said the number fell to 6,300 encounters on Friday and about 4,200 on Saturday.
“In the past two days, the United States Border Patrol has seen its number of encounters drop 50 percent from what we saw earlier in the week for Title 42 on Thursday at midnight,” he told CNN’s State of the Union. program.
‘It’s still early. We’re on day three. But we’ve been planning this transition for months and months.”
Border Patrol agents have seen a 50 percent drop in the number of migrants crossing the U.S. from Mexico, according to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas
This was the scene on Friday morning close to the border wall outside of Yuma, Arizona. It was deserted. About 24 hours earlier, the queue of migrants waiting for trial was 300 strong
He also appeared on ABC’s “This Week” to spread the message that the Biden administration had succeeded in advertising that the country’s borders were not open.
DailyMail.com was at the border in Yuma, Arizona, Thursday night as hundreds of people rushed to enter the US before Title 42 ended.
But the next morning the place was all but deserted. Experts said they believe migrants and people-smuggling gangs are trying to get to grips with a new immigration policy.
Mayorkas admitted it was too early to say the number had peaked, but he said Washington’s message was getting through.
“We have very clearly communicated an extremely important message to those individuals who are thinking about arriving at our southern border: There is a lawful, safe and orderly way to arrive in the United States,” he said.
“That is through the paths that President Biden has expanded in an unprecedented way.
“And then there’s a consequence if someone doesn’t use those legal avenues, and that consequence is removal from the United States, deportation and a five-year ban on return, and possible criminal prosecution.”
Title 42 was activated by the Trump administration to contain the spread of COVID-19. It is a public health measure that allows border authorities to immediately deport arrivals before they can even apply for asylum.
Immigrants seeking asylum in the US, trapped in a makeshift camp between US-Mexico border walls, sit as a Customs and Border Protection officer stands guard as other migrants line up to be transported on May 13 2023
But now that the pandemic was over, it ended at midnight eastern time on Thursday.
The Biden administration rushed through new restrictions, effectively reinstating Trump’s “transit ban,” which allows for the deportation of arrivals who did not seek asylum in countries they traveled through.
Migrants can legally report to the border if they have used a mobile app, CBP One, to pre-register.
But there were snags. An 11th-hour legal challenge blocked plans to speed up the release of migrants from Border Patrol detention.
The rapid decline in numbers will ease the pressure on detention centers that have far exceeded their capacity.
Nearly 300 newly arrived migrants were released by officials in Yuma, Arizona, on Friday, illustrating how border towns are grappling with a huge wave of arrivals over the past week.
Nearly 300 newly arrived migrants were released by officials in Yuma, Arizona, on Friday, illustrating how border towns are grappling with a massive surge
Migrants were seen on buses in Yuma, Arizona coinciding with the end of Title 42 and the lifting of a Trump-era restriction to prevent the spread of COVID-19
On Friday afternoon, three white buses with darkened windows drove into the Yuma Public Safety Training Facility close to the city’s airport.
On Thursday, Yuma’s mayor announced that CBP planned to release migrants into the city who had not yet undergone full processing, though he insisted they had been “vetted.”
And on Friday afternoon, three white buses with darkened windows drove into the Yuma Public Safety Training Facility close to the city’s airport.
The location was a closely guarded secret, but DailyMail.com was on hand to witness the release. A briefing document said 141 were released.
Streams of people could be seen climbing out of the buses and being led into a shaded waiting area where there was at least some shelter from 96F temperatures.
From there it is understood that they are put on buses to take them to Phoenix.
It followed a similar release of about 140 people at a separate location in Yuma and nearby San Luis in the morning.
Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines said the process was a recognition that federal authorities simply could not handle.
“This is depressing and the federal government is relying on the local and state government to do its job,” he said.
“It is another failure by the Biden administration to address a problem they created with their open border policies.”