The Biden administration on Tuesday took a victory lap, declaring that its immigration plan is “working as intended” nearly a month after a major shift in policy at the southern border. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that since the lifting of the public health order known as Title 42 at midnight May 12, unlawful border crossings have plummeted by more than 70 percent, Politico reports. The administration cited its “execution” of a plan that paired tough consequences for unlawful entry with an expansion of lawful pathways and processes for migrants in the hemisphere. “Since the CDC’s Title 42 public health Order lifted and the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive plan to manage the border went into full effect on May 12, DHS has continued to experience a significant reduction in encounters at the Southwest Border,” the White House said. “The Administration’s plan is working as intended.” Administration officials had warned of a challenging period ahead as it transitioned away from the Trump-era policy, which allowed border agents immediately to expel millions of migrants on public health grounds.
Biden himself said on May 10 that it was going to be “chaotic for a while” at the southern border. The anticipated surge never happened, and in the early days after the lifting of Title 42, White House officials breathed a collective sigh of relief. DHS on Tuesday took the opportunity to highlight the anticipated border fiasco that never came to be. Homeland Security broke down the results of its approach, including the effects of the administration’s new asylum ban that bars some migrants from applying for asylum if they cross the border illegally or fail to first apply for safe harbor while crossing through another country on the way to the U.S. Last month, the Biden administration also returned to expedited removal processes under Title 8, which allows the government to remove from the U.S. anyone unable to establish a legal basis. Removal under Title 8 also bans these migrants from the country for five years.