(NEW YORK) — Migrant apprehensions along the southwest border last month hit the lowest level since February 2021, according to new data released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Friday.
The Border Patrol arrested and detained migrants 128,410 times in January, down 42 percent from December 2022, according to CBP. Overall, authorities at the border encountered migrants 156,274 times, which includes migrants who cross at a land port of entry.
Administration officials on Friday credited the decline to recent plans involving more fast-track removals for migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba, which came along with new, yet narrow, pathways to asylum for migrants from those countries who meet certain criteria. The number of Haitians, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans stopped at the border dropped 97 percent since early January, according to CBP.
ABC News previously reported on the overall downward trend for January, which was confirmed Friday by the official tally.
Also last month, border authorities saw the lowest number of migrants from northern Central America since President Joe Biden took office. One official on Friday credited the decline to recent efforts, spearheaded by Vice President Kamala Harris, to increase public-private partnership and investments in underdeveloped regions of the Northern Triangle.
Under a court ruling, the Biden administration continues to implement a controversial public health order issued by the Trump administration’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order requires border authorities to expel large number of migrants rapidly from the border, usually in a matter of hours.
The monthly total of Title 42 apprehensions remained at one of the lowest points of the past year, despite an increase of roughly 13,000 rapid expulsions from December.
Last month, the Mexican government agreed to accept the rapid return of Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Cubans. Administration officials at the time said they intend to carry out these plans even if Title 42 ends. Immigration experts have said removing non-Mexicans to Mexico under standard immigration processes and outside of the emergency pandemic order would require full cooperation from Mexican authorities.
Border arrests and detainments last month remained significantly higher compared to the Trump years when monthly Border Patrol apprehensions bottomed out around 12,000 early in the former president’s term.
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