The number of encounters U.S. Border Patrol agents had with undocumented migrants crossing the southern border between legal ports of entry dipped below 130,000 in January, their lowest monthly number in two years, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security.
Overall border crossings, which include undocumented migrants who present themselves at legal ports of entry, also fell from December’s record monthly high of more than 250,000 to 156,000.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters last week that he credits new Biden administration policies that opened legal pathways for some migrants to apply from their home countries, while also blocking more migrants from entering at the border under Title 42 Covid restrictions.
A senior Homeland Security official told NBC News that while daily numbers at the border are down to 2021 levels at just over 4,000 a day, the problems driving migration have not been solved. Migrants fleeing desperate situations in failed states throughout the Western Hemisphere will continue to congregate in Colombia, northern Mexico and elsewhere on their journeys north, the official said.
As NBC News has previously reported, Title 42, which has blocked more than 2 million border crossings, is likely to end in May barring a successful court challenge.