EL PASO, Texas (border report) — The busiest month for illegal border crossings will be followed by the slowest in years, US officials said Wednesday.
Clashes between Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants trying to cross the border illegally dropped sharply after Biden announced an expanded parole program for people from those countries on Jan. 5, according to a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
This will allow January 2023 to see the lowest level of border clashes since February 2021, according to DHS.
Just last month, a surge in Cuban and Nicaraguan arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border resulted in the largest number of illegal border crossings recorded in any month of Joe Biden’s presidency.
According to US Customs and Border Protection, US authorities stopped migrants 251,487 times along the Mexican border in December, up 7% from 234,896 times in November and 40% more than 179,253 times in December 2021.
However, DHS said preliminary data for January shows clashes between Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans illegally crossing ports of entry are down 97% from December. The number of meetings with people from these countries decreased from 3367 on average for the week of December 11 to 115 on Tuesday.
“These expanded border security measures are working,” Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mallorcas said in a statement. “It is incomprehensible that some states that could benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are seeking to block them and cause more illegal migration on our southern border.”
DHS said the decline comes as encounters with other noncitizens return to normal levels after a seasonal downturn over the holidays.
On Jan. 5, Biden announced new measures to curb illegal immigration that officials say provide safe, legal, and orderly routes to the United States.
The release states that “data continue to show that when there is a legal and orderly way, people are less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers.”
The new border security measures mimic the model previously used for people fleeing Venezuela, Ukraine and Afghanistan.