The number of migrants apprehended along the southwest border with Mexico in January fell by more than 50 percent from the record-shattering report in December. Following dropping approval ratings for President Joe Biden on the topic of immigration and border security and a meeting between the Mexican president and two Biden administration cabinet members, actions taken by the Mexican government led to a drop of more than 125,000 migrant apprehensions in January.
Border Patrol agents assigned to the nine southwest border sectors apprehended just over 124,000 migrants who illegally crossed the border in January between ports of entry. This is down by more than 50 percent from the record-shattering 249,785 migrant apprehensions in December. So far this fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2023, agents along the southwest border encountered nearly 754,000 migrants.
Breitbart Texas reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials for information about the factors leading to the precipitous drop in migrant apprehensions in January. CBPs’ only response was to cite the historical trend of decreased apprehensions during January.
“Consistent with historical trends and enhanced enforcement, the first two weeks of January saw an over 50% decrease in southwest border encounters between ports of entry according to preliminary figures,” CBP stated.
The statement ignores efforts taking place in Mexico to round up migrants along its northern border and transport them to central and southern Mexico. Late in December, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary traveled to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), Breitbart News reported.
The article states that the Mexican president hinted to the U.S. delegation that he would reduce migrant crossings into the U.S. if President Joe Biden provided more aid and support to Latin American dictators. Reports from Mexico indicate AMLO wanted increased support for Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
In a joint communique following the December meeting, the White House said:
The two countries reaffirmed their existing commitments on fostering an orderly, humane, and regular migration. This includes reinforcing our partnership to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty, inequality, and violence, and for the two countries’ initiative for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans. Ongoing cooperation also includes enhanced efforts to disrupt human smuggling, trafficking, and criminal networks, and continuing the work to promote legal instead of irregular migration pathways. Also, both delegations agreed on the importance of maintaining and facilitating the vital bilateral trade at our shared border.
President López Obrador highlighted the commitment of President Biden to pursue regular, orderly, and secure migration. He stressed the need to continue the diplomatic and political engagement with all countries in the region, as well as investing in ambitious development programs throughout the entire hemisphere of the Americas. Both delegations underlined the efforts that the Biden administration is pursuing through development assistance and humanitarian aid, as well as advancing new private investments in the region.
Shortly after the meeting and an undisclosed agreement between Mexico and the United States, Mexican immigration and law enforcement officials began actions to round up migrants along the country’s northern border and transporting them back to Mexico, Breitbart’s Cartel Chronicles reported.
Mexican law enforcement authorities also removed migrants from trains headed from central Mexico to its northern border.
The efforts in Mexico appear to have dramatically impacted border crossings, particularly into Texas. By early February, the flow of migrants from Piedras Negras, Coahuila, to Eagle Pass, Texas, fell from thousands per day to a mere trickle, Breitbart reported from Mexico.
An official operating under the umbrella of U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Breitbart Texas that the efforts by Mexico are not a long-term fix to the problem. “The migrants are just being delayed from reaching the U.S. border,” the source stated. “The migrants are being moved further south, delaying their efforts to reach their goal of seeking asylum in the U.S.”
Breitbart Texas reached out to members of Congress and the office of House Speaker Mike Johnson for information about an agreement between Mexico and the United States to reduce migrant crossings. One congressman replied that it was not clear if the Biden administration would ever disclose an agreement of this nature. There do not appear to be any reports disclosing what the U.S. may have agreed to in return for Mexico’s increased enforcement efforts.
Migrant apprehensions in the Del Rio Sector, which includes the hotspot of Eagle Pass, fell from more than 71,000 in December to just under 17,000 in January. Likewise, encounters in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso Sectors also experienced significant drops.
While not as drastic, migrant apprehensions in the Tucson and San Diego Sectors also fell significantly.
February apprehensions in the Tucson Sector appeared to rebound leading into February. During the more recent weekly recap by Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, migrant apprehensions for the past week jumped to 13,800 — up from 11,300 one week earlier.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday morning talk show. He also serves as president of Blue Wonder Gun Care Products. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.