Biden restrictions brings sharp fall in migrants, White House says

New restrictions by President Joe Biden have brought a sharp drop in the number of migrants trying to cross the Mexican border, the White House said Wednesday, as it sought to turn the tables on an issue dear to rival Donald Trump.

Biden earlier this month issued an order to shut down the border to asylum seekers once daily limits are hit, bringing anger from the left wing of his Democratic Party base.

Since the rules went into effect, the Border Patrol has had an average of 2,400 encounters a day, the lowest level since January 2021, before Biden took over from Trump, the Department of Homeland Security said.

But it said the number was still high enough that the daily limits would remain in effect.

The White House seized on the figures and pointed to Trump’s efforts to block a deal reached by congressional negotiators that would fund more border personnel.

Donald Trump decided that politics was more important than border security,” Andrew Bates, the senior deputy press secretary, said.

Senate Republicans last month again blocked a compromise that had been negotiated by some members of their party and said they instead wanted a tougher package.

Trump, whose antipathy toward immigrants was one of his signature issues during his first term, has campaigned on images of chaos on the border.

Biden, walking a thin line within his own party, more recently has also made it easier for undocumented spouses of US citizens to obtain permanent residency.