Mayorkas Says Border Patrol Encounters Down By Half Since Title 42 Expired
United States Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at a White House Press Briefing at the White House on May 11, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Sunday that U.S. Border Patrol encounters have dropped by half in the two days since Title 42 expired.

Around 6,300 encounters took place on Friday and 4,200 happened Saturday — a marked decrease from the over 10,000 reported before the end of Title 42, Mayorkas said during an interview on CNN.

Pressed on why the numbers have fallen, Mayorkas credited a “vitally important message” encouraging people arriving at the border to take legal pathways toward entry, which he said has been expanded by President Joe Biden in “an unprecedented way.”

Mayorkas also touted stiffer punishments under Title 8, which can include deportation, a five-year ban on entry, and possible criminal prosecution.

However, Mayorkas conceded it is “still early” to tell when asked by “State of the Union” anchor Dana Bash whether the “surge” at the U.S.-Mexico border has “peaked.”

The pandemic-era Title 42, which allowed authorities to quickly turn away migrants at the border on public health grounds, came to a close at the end of Thursday, and not everyone is pleased with the Biden administration’s handling of the situation.

Republicans have been quick to fault what they say is the government’s “open border” policies ahead of what many expected to be a large influx of illegal crossings. And some Democrats have chastised the Biden administration for not doing more. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), for instance, said federal agencies “have had time to plan, but their efforts have fallen short” when it comes to helping border communities.


Mayorkas said he would “respectfully disagree” when asked by Bash to respond to Democrats who believe the Biden administration has “fallen short.” He pointed to preparations for the expected influx of people, including the deployment of thousands more personnel and resources to assist Border Patrol.

“It’s extraordinary what we’ve done over the past 18 months or so,” he said.

A federal judge in Florida issued a ruling on Thursday to block the officials from carrying out a plan to “parole” migrants at overcrowded holding facilities without a mandated court day, an order which the White House called “sabotage” and Mayorkas said was “very harmful.”

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Mayorkas said “a number” of individuals were released “because of the surge that we experienced before Title 42 came to an end.”

With the 50% drop in Border Patrol encounters, the secretary insisted the administration is “executing our consequence regime exactly as planned.”

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