The number of migrants crossing the southern US border is declining. But for how long?

The number of migrants crossing the southern US border is | ltc-a

Almost two months Since the lifting of a public health order that allowed the United States to quickly deport migrants at its southern border, the number of migrants entering the country has not only dropped sharply, but has also remained relatively low.

Since May 12, the average number of illegal crossings per day has been about 3,360, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security. In March 2022, that average was about 7,100.

The decline in crossings has been a welcome development for the Biden administration, which has seen record levels of illegal migration during most of the president’s term.

Officials had expected the expiration of the public health rule, known as Title 42, would result in even more illegal crossings, as they believed the policy change could wreak havoc if migrants who had been unable to seek asylum suddenly they could do it. Those predictions, however, were made before the Biden administration introduced policies designed to cushion a potential spike. The increase in illegal crossings occurred in the days before the expiry of the law.

But officials say this lull, after nearly two years of higher-than-usual crossings, won’t last. Determining the factors that increase and decrease migration is not an exact science. Global migration trends, legal challenges, and political changes in the United States and the countries from which most migrants emigrate could all have an effect on where the numbers go. But here are some informed theories from government officials and outside experts based on current conditions.

Officials believe the migrants have been in a waiting mode since May 12, after the public health rule – in place for three years – was lifted and policies introduced that limit access to asylum and create new legal paths.

New policies are already facing legal challenges, creating the possibility that a judge’s ruling could change one, suspend it temporarily, or stop it entirely. So many migrants are waiting to see if the policies are here to stay.

They are also looking at how others fare at the US border and whether they are encountering new hurdles in their quest to enter the US, said Falko Ernst, senior Mexico analyst for the International Crisis Group.

« You might have people waiting because they hear stories and they’re scared » about new policies making it more difficult to cross the border, Ernst said.

Officials believe fewer migrants are crossing illegally because they are taking advantage of a more structured and safer option to ask for asylum, as well as new legal pathways the Biden administration has created for entry into the country of certain nationalities.

In central and northern Mexico, migrants can access a government smartphone app, where they can request an appointment at an official port of entry at the US border. While there were some technical issues with the app, nearly 30,000 used it to make appointments in May alone, according to recent government figures.

In addition, migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela can request the possibility to live and work in the United States for two years with a special humanitarian conditional. In April, the Biden administration announced that migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras would be eligible for a family reunification program. These programs, which are expected to begin this month, allow some immigrants seeking to reunite with immediate family members to enter the United States and subsequently apply for a green card.

The measures taken by Mexico include limiting the ability of migrants to travel across the country, making it more difficult for them to reach the US border. Mexico also carries migrants that the United States recently deported to the southern parts of the country. This increases the distance between them and the US border, which makes it more difficult for migrants who want to try to cross illegally again.

There is still extreme poverty, violence and political instability in countries to which people are fleeing, including Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other Central American nations.

« I’m confident there are a lot of people moving around the hemisphere, mostly headed this way, » said Benjamine Huffman, a senior customs and border protection official, during a congressional hearing on June 6. . We look at shelters that have people.

As of June 14, there were about 104,000 migrants in northern Mexico, about eight hours from the U.S. border, according to an intelligence estimate provided by the Biden administration in a recent court filing. And there are others en route from Colombia, where the journeys typically begin in the Western Hemisphere.

If the Biden administration’s policies remain in place and no changes occur as part of the legal challenges, crossing overs could eventually start to increase again as well.

Migrants who are waiting somewhere along their route to the United States may find that the danger they face by staying put, particularly in Mexico, is so great that they would rather risk crossing the southern border illegally, said Ernst, l ‘International Crisis Analyst Group.

Criminals and cartels prey on vulnerable populations such as migrants. Staying in one place makes them targets for forced labor and sex trafficking, Ernst said.