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Border encounters down 25 percent after Biden asylum restrictions announced

Border officials are reporting significantly lower numbers of encounters with migrants between ports of entry at the southwest border, weeks after the Biden administration announced an asylum crackdown.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Thursday that preliminary data since the announcement shows a 25 percent decrease in such encounters, but it warned that “migration flows are dynamic.”

“Our enforcement efforts are continuing to reduce southwest border encounters. But the fact remains that our immigration system is not resourced for what we are seeing,” said Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of CBP.  

“The dedicated men and women of CBP will continue to prioritize national security and disrupt criminal networks, while maximizing consequences for unlawful entry, including detention, prosecution, and removal under recently announced executive actions to further secure the border.”

If the decrease holds, it could be a political boost for President Biden — for years, Republicans have relentlessly attacked the president over his management of the border.

Official CBP data from before the asylum crackdown shows encounters have plateaued since January at levels similar to or slightly below the average for late winter and spring throughout the Biden administration.

Temporary dips in migration are not uncommon after major border policy announcements.

For instance, Border Patrol encounters dropped 40 percent from May to June 2023, after the Biden administration terminated the pandemic-inspired summary expulsion policy known as Title 42.

Most border experts associate those temporary drops with a wait-and-see approach by migrants and smugglers, who hold back on certain crossings while new U.S. policies are tested.

Under Biden’s asylum rule, most migrants encountered between ports of entry are not screened for asylum claims, and they can be subject to quick expulsion to Mexico, accelerated deportation procedures to their home country and criminal and administrative consequences.

The asylum rule does not apply to migrants who enter the United States at ports of entry through established programs such as appointments on the CBP One app.

Source: The Hill

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