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Border arrests fall more than 40% since Biden's halt to asylum processing

A U.S. Border Patrol agent inspects a grup of dozens of migrants waiting to be processed after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on June 18, 2024 in Jacumba Hot Springs, San Diego, California.
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A U.S. Border Patrol agent inspects a grup of dozens of migrants waiting to be processed after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on June 18, 2024 in Jacumba Hot Springs, San Diego, California.

WASHINGTON — Arrests for illegal border crossings dropped more than 40% during the three weeks that asylum processing has been suspended, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday.

The Border Patrol's average daily arrests over a seven-day period have fallen below 2,400, down more than 40% from before President Joe Biden's proclamation took effect June 5, still above the 1,500 mark needed to resume asylum processing.

Homeland Security says it marks the lowest number since Jan. 17, 2021, less than a week before Biden took office.

Last week, Biden, a Democrat, said border arrests had fallen 25% since his order took effect, indicating they have decreased much more since then.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was scheduled to address reporters Wednesday in Tucson, Arizona, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings during much of the last year.

U.S. authorities say the seven-day daily average of arrests in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector was just under 600 on Tuesday, down from just under 1,200 on June 2.

Under the suspension, which takes effect when daily arrests are above 2,500, anyone who expresses that fear or an intention to seek asylum is screened by a U.S. asylum officer but at a higher standard than currently used.

If they pass the screening, they can pursue more limited forms of humanitarian protection, including the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Advocacy groups have sued the Biden administration to block the measure.

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