Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that the number of encounters on the U.S.-Mexico border had dropped by 50% since the Covid-era Title 42 expulsion policy was lifted.
“Over the past two days, the United States Border Patrol has experienced a 50% drop in the number of encounters versus what we were experiencing earlier in the week before Title 42 ended at midnight on Thursday,” Mayorkas said on CNN.
Title 42 ended Thursday evening along with the Covid-19 national public health emergency. In anticipation of an influx of migrants at the border the Biden Administration put new policies in place and deployed some deployed some 1,500 active duty troops to aid the 24,000 law enforcement officers on the border.
With a reported 190,000 people waiting at the Southern border in anticipation of Thursday’s lifting of Title 42, authorities had projected migrant encounters to increase to upwards of 14,000 per day, according to U.S. Border Patrol.
And ahead of Thursday’s midnight deadline, border towns did see a surge in border crossings. As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 28,000 migrants in Customs and Border Protection custody, according to DHS.
However, Mayorkas said Sunday that Border Patrol had about 6,300 border encounters Friday and about 4,200 on Saturday.
Mayor Javier Villalobos of McAllen, Texas added Sunday, “It’s not the numbers we initially expected, and we hope it keeps that way.”
The Mayor of El Paso, Oscar Leeser, said his city has so far seen a “smooth transition” out of Title 42, despite reports of migrants sleeping on sidewalks amid that surge in the early part of last week.
Nonetheless, he added, “We know that we still need to prepare for the unknown because we don’t know what’s going to happen next week and continue to happen day in and day out.”
Mayorkas also stressed that it’s too early to tell whether the migrant surge has peaked.
“We are in day three,” he noted Sunday, “but we have been planning for this transition for months and months. And we have been executing on our plan. And we will continue to do so.”