Illegal U.S. border crossings drop as Mexico enhances enforcement 

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By Carina

Recent actions taken by Mexico’s immigration officials have contributed to a significant decrease in illegal border crossings into the United States. 

This shift in immigration enforcement policies is seen as a welcome development by the White House, given ongoing discussions related to asylum restrictions and substantial aid packages for Ukraine and Israel. 

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Mexico’s efforts to reduce illegal border crossings into US

Mexico has implemented several measures to reduce illegal border crossings into the United States. 

One notable action includes stopping migrants from traveling on freight trains, a standard mode of transportation for those seeking asylum. 

Additionally, Mexico has resumed flying and busing migrants to its southern regions and has even arranged flights to return some individuals to their home countries, like Venezuela.

These enforcement actions by Mexico have had a tangible effect on illegal border crossings. 

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Significant drop in illegal crossings leads to reopening of US ports of entry

Arrests for illegal crossings into the U.S. from Mexico dropped significantly, with approximately 2,500 arrests on a recent day, compared to more than 10,000 on certain days in December. 

This decline is most pronounced in the Border Patrol’s busiest area, where arrests fell by 29% in just two weeks.

The reduction in illegal crossings led U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reopen several ports of entry, including the port in Lukeville, Arizona, which had been closed for a month. 

The reopening of these ports is crucial for both trade and local businesses, as many merchants in border cities rely heavily on cross-border trade.

Impact of enforcement measures on border communities

While these measures are welcomed for reducing illegal crossings, they have presented challenges to border communities. 

Eagle Pass, Texas, for instance, saw a significant decline in sales when a bridge was closed to vehicle traffic to allow border agents to assist in processing migrants. 

The economic impact of such closures is substantial for these communities, which depend on cross-border commerce.

In Piedras Negras, Mexico, Casa del Migrante, a shelter for migrants, has witnessed a decrease in the number of residents from a high of 1,500 to around 200. 

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Changing migration dynamics and ‘human consequences’

This decline reflects the changing dynamics of migration in response to Mexico’s actions.

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While these actions have impacted reducing illegal crossings, there are human consequences. Families like Daniel Bermudez have faced separation as they navigate the complex asylum process. 

Bermudez’s wife was sent to Mexico’s southern border, leading to a distressing separation. 

The couple had followed the procedure by making an appointment with U.S. immigration authorities, highlighting the challenges faced by migrants and their families.

Proposed expulsion authority and the role of Mexico

Proposals currently being discussed by the White House and Senate negotiators include the potential for new expulsion authority that would deny asylum rights if illegal border crossings reach a certain threshold. 

The effectiveness of such authority would likely depend on Mexico’s cooperation in accepting non-Mexican individuals who enter the U.S. illegally. 

Mexico’s support has been instrumental in previous policies, such as the “Remain in Mexico” policy during the Trump era.

Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., emphasized the complexity of Mexico’s role in the recent reduction in border traffic. 

Mexico’s impact on U.S. Immigration policy

While Mexico’s enforcement efforts contribute to short-term effects, the long-term impact remains uncertain. 

Additionally, factors like seasonal variations and broader migration patterns in South America also influence border crossings.

Mexico’s actions in reducing illegal border crossings represent a significant development in U.S. immigration policy. 

Balancing enforcement and humanitarian concerns at the border

While the decrease is notable, it raises important questions about balancing enforcement measures with humanitarian considerations. 

The collaboration between the United States and Mexico will continue to play a pivotal role in addressing these complex challenges at the border.

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