DHS Reports Surprising Border News; Terror Watchlist Suspect Caught Crossing Southern Border
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Just days after the expiration of Title 42, the U.S. Homeland Security secretary reports that encounters at the southern border have dropped dramatically. Title 42 was the Trump-era policy that allowed the U.S. to quickly expel migrants under COVID restrictions.
Many predicted the U.S.-Mexico border would see a huge influx of migrants as Title 42 ended last week, but DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says there's been an approximately 50 percent drop in the days since it expired.
Critics point out that border crossings had already hit record levels last week before the rule ended, and they expect them to start rising again in the days ahead.
The administration is claiming stricter asylum-seeking policies put in place last week are making a difference.
"They have gone down. My hope is they'll continue to go down; we have a lot more work to do," said President Joe Biden. "We need some more help from the Congress as well, in terms of funding and legislative changes."
Republicans are pushing back. On ABC's "This Week", GOP Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) pointed out that administration policies over the past two and a half years created a crisis at the border, with a record five million people entering illegally.
He said the new policies are similar to Republican initiatives in a bill passed by the House last week, which the White House called "dead on arrival".
"It's interesting that two and a half years later, they're now walking this back and trying to implement something, that you know, MPP like (Migrant Protection Protocols), but not exactly," McCaul said.
"We passed a border security bill this week in Congress, and my portion was to codify and authorize into law the Migrant Protection Protocols," he continued.
The new restrictions include: non-Mexican migrants seeking asylum must prove they've been denied protection from a country they pass through on their way to the U.S. They must also use a federal app to make an appointment.
In addition, anyone caught re-entering the country after being expelled will be denied entry to the U.S. for at least five years.
The ACLU is suing the Biden administration over the new policies, claiming they're unlawful. Mayorkas disagrees.
"There is a safe, lawful, and orderly way to reach the United States and seek humanitarian relief, and that is through the lawful pathways that we have expanded under President Biden's leadership," he said.
At the same time, the administration is pushing back against a Florida federal judge's ruling that migrants have to be issued a court date before they can be released.
Meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection sources told Fox News that agents apprehended an Afghan national last week, who's on the FBI's terror watchlist. He reportedly crossed into the U.S. illegally in California.
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