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Homeland Security says border arrests fall more than 40% since Biden’s halt to asylum processing

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

The Border Patrol’s average daily arrests over a 7-day period have fallen below 2,400, down more than 40% from before President Joe Biden’s proclamation took effect June 5. That’s still above the 1,500-mark needed to resume asylum processing, but Homeland Security says it marks the lowest number since Jan. 17, 2021, less than a week before Biden took office.

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

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is scheduled to address reporters today in Tucson, Arizona, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings during much of the last year. U.S. authorities say the 7-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 administration to block the measure.

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