Just over 3,000 migrants are stopped each day by Border Patrol. This is the lowest number since the Biden Administration began. The number of migrants crossing the southwest U.S. border illegally has dropped to just over 3,000 per day, down from more than 10,000 three weeks earlier. This is despite predictions that the number would increase following the lifting of Title 42 Covid on May 11,.
There may be fewer migrants just waiting to cross the border. Border Patrol Chief Raul Oriz estimated, shortly before Title 42 was removed, that as many as 65,000 migrants lived in tent cities and shelters in Mexico, waiting to enter the U.S. Although numbers for tent-cities were not available, the United Nations International Organization for Migration reported that the population of 130 shelters and more in northern Mexico fell from over 25,000 on May 19, to just under 20,000 on Monday.
More migrants use the asylum app. Shelter operators in Tijuana report that migrants using their shelters increasingly turn to the CBP One App to book appointments to seek asylum at U.S. port of entry.
According to a study conducted by the Strauss Center at the University of Texas at Austin, who recently conducted an assessment of asylum procedures along the U.S. Mexico border, despite the fact that the app is still glitchy and difficult to use, improvements made in recent months have enabled over 1,000 migrants per day to access it. They have a window of 23 hours for booking appointments, and another 23 hours to accept. Prior to this, migrants would be quickly turned away from the system if it reached its daily capacity. This led to frustration, and in one instance, a rush at the port of entrance in El Paso. As more migrants apply to present themselves legally for asylum, less are crossing illegally.
“Consequences: Customs and Border Protection Officials also attribute the decrease in illegal border crossings due to “consequences.” Title 42 allowed migrants to repeatedly cross the U.S. Mexico border and not face any consequences if they are turned back. Since Title 42 was repealed, migrants caught illegally crossing the border into the U.S. will be charged with a crime if they try to enter the U.S. again within five years. This is a return of an older regulation known as Title 8. CBP officials said that migrants who are considering crossing the border have heard about the increased penalties, deportations and “consequences.”
U.S. officials and other foreign officials who monitor global migration patterns say that there are also temporary factors which may have a negative impact on the numbers.
Weather: In recent weeks, less migrants crossed from Colombia to Panama through the Darien Gap due to the rainy season. The rainy season has made the journey more slippery, muddy and dangerous. As the weather improves, the Colombian official expects a rise in the number of migrants from Venezuela and other countries.
New restrictions on asylum: A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said that the agency attributes the decline in asylum applications to the asylum ineligibility policy implemented after Title 42 was abolished. According to the new policy migrants who don’t first ask for asylum in the countries they travel through to reach the U.S., are ineligible to request asylum at the U.S. borders, unless the country in which they traveled has denied them asylum or they can prove that they have met a set of special criteria such as being torture victims if deported.
The American Civil Liberties Union, however, has asked a federal court in the Northern District of California for a block on the policy of ineligibility to asylum. The first hearing has been scheduled for July 19. The DHS official stated that if a judge blocks the policy, and prevents Biden’s administration from denying asylum for those migrants, then the administration could soon see more migrants crossing illegally in order to claim asylum instead of using the CBP One App.
Group chats among migrants who hope to reach the U.S. continue to be active, with ads, advice and first-hand accounts of what to expect after Title 42.
A person posted a screenshot from an app error message that said they had to be in Mexico in order to request an appointment.
Smugglers continue to advertise their services in a group chat by using videos and images that vouch for their “success”. They claim they have been able to get migrants around and through The Darien Gap with boats.
“I do not lie to my people.” Zero danger. No crossing of the jungle. The best route. A user shared a video of a guide called “Manuelito”, which showed a group cheering as they climbed aboard boats wearing life jackets.