Border crossings drop 25% as Biden immigration crackdown takes hold

Border crossings have dipped by 25% to one of the lowest levels in years as President Joe Biden’s immigration crackdown appears to be having a major positive impact, federal authorities said.

With immigration a key presidential campaign issue, the number of arrests made at the southern border with Mexico has dropped by a quarter since Biden announced new rules restricting asylum-seekers on June 4, Customs and Border Protection said.

The decline comes on top of a 9% drop from April to May, when Border Patrol made 117,900 arrests of people entering the country, the third-lowest monthly figure since Biden took office in 2021.

“Our enforcement efforts are continuing to reduce southwest border encounters. But the fact remains that our immigration system is not resourced for what we are seeing,” said Troy A. Miller, acting head of CBP.

The good news for Biden comes as rival Donald Trump made a surprising proposal to grant permanent residency and permission to legally work to any foreigner who graduates from an American two- or four-year college.

In a dramatic shift from his usual anti-immigrant rhetoric, Trump framed the proposal as a way to ensure the U.S. continues to attract global talent.

“What I will do is, you graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically, as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country,” the presumptive GOP nominee said on a tech-focused podcast.

“You go in there for two years or four years … if you graduate, or you get a doctorate degree from a college, you should be able to stay in this country,” he added.

Some right-wing Trump allies quickly shot down the idea.

No immigration reforms are likely to pass Congress during an election year when Republicans have vowed to avoid giving Biden any political ammunition in the November vote.

GOP lawmakers already killed a bipartisan border security measure that their own conservative members mostly endorsed after Trump urged them to shut it down.

The figures showing an improving situation at the border is very good news for Biden and Democrats as they struggle to win over millions of voters concerned over immigration and the situation at the border.

But officials and analysts warn that the number of people arriving at the border can change rapidly and is largely dependent on conditions in foreign countries where migrants are coming from, not American policies.

The improving situation at the border has benefited from aggressive enforcement on the Mexican side of the border, where Mexican authorities have been working to prevent migrants from getting to the U.S. border in the first place.

Trump has vowed to impose a harsh crackdown on immigration if he regains the presidency, including mass roundups of millions of undocumented immigrants and mass deportations.

Biden has ordered Border Patrol agents to effectively turn back asylum seekers after a daily limit is reached, a policy that critics say is little different from Trump’s rules that were struck down in court.

The White House has sought to balance that move by also moving this week to allow the undocumented immigrant spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for citizenship without leaving the country, a big change that will aid an estimated 500,000 American families.