(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Homeland Security is taking a victory lap as preliminary data released Wednesday shows a sharp decline in certain migrants crossing the border.
Border Patrol apprehensions of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans are down 97% since December. The average number of migrant apprehensions from those countries — a key indicator of illegal migration — is at 115 per day, down from 3,367 per day at the beginning of December, according to the agency.
In the face of continued Republican criticism of “reckless” border policies, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement: “These expanded border enforcement measures are working.”
“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,” Mayorkas said.
The new data comes as a group of mostly GOP-led states is suing the Biden administration over its latest immigration policy initiative.
But the administration is crediting the migration decline to the simultaneous rollout of its border crackdown and parole programs for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans.
Earlier this month, Mexico agreed to accept 30,000 unauthorized migrants a month from those three countries plus Venezuela while the U.S. committed to establishing a narrow parole pathway for 30,000 more each month.
“We realize that these are temporary solutions and not a permanent fix,” one senior administration official said Wednesday, stressing the need for action from Congress.
The parole program was an expansion of a prior process only for Venezuelan nationals that had been capped at a lower level. Now since Jan. 5, about 1,700 have been paroled into the U.S. through the expanded program while thousands more have been approved and are awaiting travel.
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