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US asylum system a 'jewel': DHS Sec. Mayorkas claims 50% reduction in border crossings since Title 42's end

Image source: @CNN and @BensmanTodd Twitter screenshot compilation

Department of Homeland Security's Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed border crossings are down 50% since Title 42 ended.

"Over the past two days, the United States Border Patrol has experienced a 50% drop in the number of encounters versus what we were experiencing earlier in the week before Title 42 ended at midnight on Thursday," Mayorkas said Sunday morning on CNN's "State of the Union."

Mayorkas said it is too early to determine if the anticipated surge has peaked. He said the figures from the United States Border Patrol were 6,300 on Friday and about 4,200 Saturday. He added that the figure was around 10,000 earlier in the week.

The Biden appointee made remarks on ABC's "This Week" with anchor Jonathan Karl Sunday morning, as well.

Mayorkas told Karl he "respectfully disagrees" with a judge's ruling earlier this week taking aim at a DHS policy that allowed some migrants to be released without a court date due to overcrowding.

Mayorkas attributed the surprising figures he gave to both outlets to "months and months" of advanced planning in preparation for the ending Title 42. He also said that communications efforts emphasizing "consequences" like possible deportation and a five-year ban on returning had helped stem the tide.

Over the past several days, from its Twitter account, DHS has posted short videos warning incoming migrants that the border is closed. Several of the tweets were posted in Haitian Creole and Spanish.

Title 42 is a Trump-era policy that allowed incoming migrants to be denied entry based on the COVID pandemic. Title 42 ended Thursday. In the days leading up to its end, social media was awash in videos showing Texas officials behind concertina wire. Migrants, some with young children in tow, are seen scrambling up the riverbank on the opposite side of the makeshift barriers.

"The asylum system has been and continues to be a jewel of the United States," Mayorkas said on CNN when asked about the debate within the Democratic Party on how restrictive the United States should be when it comes to asylum claims.

"The cartels, the smuggling organizations, control the land. And so we have not only a security imperative, but a humanitarian responsibility to cut those smugglers out. And that's precisely what we, as an administration, [have] done," he also said, adding that more than 10,000 smugglers have already been arrested.

Throughout the week, Todd Bensman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, shared multiple videos on Twitter of migrants making their way across the water between Matamoros, Mexico and the Brownsville, Texas area on the opposite side.

Bensman described what he witnessed as a "human flood" and "terrible for the American public Wednesday, the day before Title 42 ended.

Watch a segment below of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas's interview with CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday morning.

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