Texas, federal officials taking credit for drop in border crossings since Title 42
DALLAS - It's been one week since Title 42 was lifted, the pandemic-era public health rule that quickly expelled most asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
As Title 42 was set to expire, the state was anticipating a massive surge of migrants at the southern border.
A Texas DPS official even said they were prepared for civil unrest, but that never happened.
Both the state and federal government are taking credit for the drastic drop in border crossings.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said illegal border crossing are down due to the work of thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas DPS troopers staged at the southern border.
"Building the barriers that were needed to prevent people from entering, and then having the personnel behind those barriers," Abbott said.
Whether those barriers and guards will continue to hold numbers down remains to be seen.
There was a significant increase in illegal crossings just before Title 42 expired, and large numbers of migrants are still gathered on the Mexico side.
At a joint news conference in Brownsville Friday, Brigadier General Matthew Barker said Florida and Idaho are sending reinforcements "who will be joining joint task force Lone Star within 72 hours."
The Biden administration is also touting a drastic drop in the number of migrants crossing over the southern border to seek asylum at ports of entry.
"With the expiration of Title 42 last week, we reverted back to what normal immigration processing looks like at the border," said Laura Collins, the Director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative.
Collins said one reason for the drop could be the threat of a five-year ban for anyone not authorized to cross the border.
"Those tougher penalties for normal immigration processing could be driving that. It could be that there is more access to come in here, ports of entry. It could be some of the other legal pathways that the Biden administration has put in place. We're really not sure what the mix, the right mix is at this point," she explained.
Collins said Customs and Border Patrol agents have put approximately 11,000 migrants on deportation flights this week alone.
Those who are granted entry as their long asylum process plays out are being bused to larger cities, like Dallas.
There were 56 migrants who arrived from El Paso on Friday.
The organization Dallas Responds is putting them up, temporarily, at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.
"They're coming in from border cities that don't have the infrastructure of large airport like ours, so it becomes necessary for us to respond to the crisis the way we are doing," said Almas Muscatwalla. "They have a court date. This isn't the end of their journey. Just because you see them in Dallas that doesn't mean they have a permanent residency status."
Most of the migrants that arrived in Dallas Friday will be put on flights to other cities, where they have family, and await their asylum hearing.
Gov. Abbott said those arriving from Florida and Idaho will remain at the southern border for several weeks.