McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The number of asylum-seeking migrants encountered on the Southwest border continue to drop daily since Title 42 was lifted, and DHS reports the surge of Venezuelans coming to cross has all but ended.
Meanwhile Texas and Florida are moving troops and resources to the border, but DHS officials say they aren’t necessarily coordinating with federal authorities.
About 4,000 asylum seekers per day have been apprehended on the border this week. That’s down from 4,400 per day over the weekend. And it’s a drop of 56% from last week when over 10,000 individuals per day were encountered crossing the border from Mexico, DHS Assistant Secretary Blas Nuñez-Neto said Wednesday.
There has been a huge decrease in Venezuelans — by 98% — along the border, he told reporters.
Prior to the lifting of Title 42, about 2,400 Venezuelans per day were encountered on the border — most in the South Texas border town of Brownsville, where they were turning themselves in large groups at an abandoned golf course that is near a university baseball field.
But so far this week, an average of 50 Venezuelans per day have been encountered on the border.
Nuñez-Neto said that “thousands of non citizens including over a thousand nationals from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua have been returned to Mexico and to over 18 other countries under our Title 8 authorities.”
Title 8 enforcement orders immediately replaced Title 42 when the pandemic-era health restrictions that had prevented migrants from claiming asylum at the border to stop the spread of coronavirus were lifted at 10:59 p.m. CT on Thursday.
DHS says non-citizens who do not apply for asylum interviews via the CBP One app, and cross illegally in between U.S. ports of entry, will be sent back to Mexico or their home countries under Title 8.
More Mexicans than Venezuelans
Now, Border Patrol said it is encountering more Mexicans — about 1,000 daily at the border. The next most populous group are Colombians — about 510 per day — and 470 Guatemalans per day, he said.
The number of Mexican nationals attempting to cross the border, however, has dropped from nearly 2,000 per day prior to the lifting of Title 42, he said.
“This transition is the culmination of nearly two years of preparation and a whole of government approach to return to traditional title eight immigration processing,” he said, adding: “It is still too soon to draw any firm conclusions here about where these trends will go in the coming days and weeks. And we continue to monitor the situation on our border and in Mexico, and along the transit routes in real-time.”
CBP One app glitches or fixes?
Asylum-seekers must apply for interviews at U.S. ports of entry using the CBP One app, which has been hotly criticized by migrants and migrant advocates who say since its rollout in January the app continues to glitch and give them “error” messages.
As he has several times before, Nuñez-Neto defended the app, saying they have processed over 5,000 individuals through appointments made on the app and each day they offer 1,000 appointments throughout the day, with the app only down for one hour a day.
“The application is working well and we continue to make changes to make it easier to use for migrants,” he said.
Florida and Texas send border troops
In response to a question about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott both surging state law enforcement to the Southwest border, he indicated the Republican lawmakers’ actions could be “political.”
On Tuesday, DeSantis announced he is sending 1,100 National Guard soldiers and law enforcement to the Texas border, as well as technology, to help control illegal immigration. This includes:
- 800 Florida National Guard soldiers
- 200 Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers
- 100 Florida State troopers
- 20 wildlife officers
- 5 fixed-wing aircraft
- 17 drones
- 10 boats
- 2 mobile command vehicles
“The impacts of Biden’s border crisis are felt by communities across the nation, and the federal government’s abdication of duty undermines the sovereignty of our country and the rule of law,” DeSantis said. “At my direction, state agencies including law enforcement and the Florida National Guard are being deployed to Texas, with assets including personnel, boats and planes. While Biden ignores the crisis he created, Florida stands ready to help Texas respond to this crisis.”
Abbott has surged thousands of Texas National Guard to the border. They currently are unspooling miles of barbed wire along the Rio Grande. Since Operation Lone Star began in 2021, 370,000 migrants have been apprehended, and over 18,000 of them have been bused to Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City, Abbott’s office told Border Report.
This includes buses that just began this week from Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas, where an overflow of asylum seekers are being housed.
“We need to make sure that any actions taken on the border that involve law enforcement personnel are coordinated with the federal government and with our state and local partners. There is outstanding coordination taking place at the local level each and every day. We have seen however, at times, that, you know, Governor DeSantis, and Governor Abbott take actions that are being done, really for purely political reasons,” Nuñez-Neto said.
Newly appointed Texas Border Czar Mike Banks tweeted Sunday: “Amid the chaos, I want to commend the tenacious and fearless defense of the border by @TXMilitary. They stand tall and steadfast, ready to face any challenges that may come their way. Thank you for all your hard work!”
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com