EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The busiest month for illegal border crossings will be followed by the slowest in years, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
According to a news release issued by the Department of Homeland Security, encounters of Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan migrants attempting to cross the border illegally have decreased drastically since Biden on Jan. 5 announced an expanded parole program for people from those countries.
That will put the month of January 2023 on track to see the lowest levels of border encounters since February 2021, DHS said.
Just last month, a surge in Cuban and Nicaraguan arrivals at the U.S. border with Mexico led to the highest number of illegal border crossings recorded during any month of Joe Biden’s presidency.
U.S. authorities stopped migrants 251,487 times along the Mexican border in December, up 7% from 234,896 times in November and up 40% from 179,253 times in December 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows.
However, DHS said preliminary numbers from January show that encounters of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans crossing unlawfully between ports of entry declined 97% compared to December. Encounters with individuals from these countries dropped from a seven-day average of 3,367 per day on Dec. 11 to a seven-day average of just 115 on Tuesday.
“These expanded border enforcement measures are working,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is incomprehensible that some states who stand to benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are seeking to block them and cause more irregular migration at our southern border.”
DHS said the decline comes as encounters with other noncitizens return to customary levels after the seasonal drop over the holidays
On Jan. 5, Biden announced the new border enforcement measures to limit illegal immigration that officials say provide safe, lawful and orderly pathways to the United States.
The release said “data continues to show that when there is a lawful and orderly way, people are less inclined to put lives in the hands of smugglers.”
The new border enforcement measures mimic a model previously used for individuals fleeing Venezuela, Ukraine, and Afghanistan.