January 2023 on track for lowest monthly southwest border encounters since February 2021
WASHINGTON – Encounters of Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan non-citizens attempting to cross the southwest border unlawfully has decreased drastically since President Biden announced an expanded parole program for these individuals, putting the month of January on track to see the lowest levels of monthly border encounters since February 2021.
Preliminary numbers from January show that encounters of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans crossing unlawfully between ports of entry at the southwest border declined 97% compared to December. Encounters with individuals from these countries dropped from a 7-day average of 3,367 per day on December 11, to a seven-day average of just 115 on January 24. The decline in encounters from those populations occurred even as encounters of other noncitizens are returning to customary levels after a typical seasonal decline over the holidays.
“These expanded border enforcement measures are working,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “It is incomprehensible that some states who stand to benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are seeking to block them and cause more irregular migration at our southern border.”
On January 5, President Biden announced additional border enforcement measures to limit illegal immigration, that coupled an expansion of safe, lawful and orderly pathways to come to the United States, and, where applicable, make protection claims, with new consequences on those who fail to avail themselves of these orderly pathways and instead seek to cross the southwest border without authorization.
The coupling of these measures has led to a dramatic reduction in the numbers of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans seeking to cross illegally at the southwest border. The data continues to show that when there is a lawful and orderly way, people are less inclined to put lives in the hands of smugglers.
The new measures are based on the successful model previously used for individuals fleeing Venezuela, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Since the parole program for Venezuelan nationals was announced, the number of individuals from Venezuela attempting to enter the United States unlawfully has continued to decline significantly -- even as overall border encounters rose in December due to smugglers spreading misinformation around the Title 42 public health order. The number of Venezuelans encountered at the southwest border have dropped from roughly 1,100 a day the week before that process was announced, to an average of 100 a day in January.