The number of illegal border crossings fell below 100,000 in June, the first time it has done so since February 2021. This marks the largest decline since President Joe Biden’s first month in office.

Border officials reported 99,545 individuals in between ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, a 42% decline in May. The total border encounters in June, including people who presented with or without an appointment through the government’s CBP One app, totaled under 145,000, a 30% decrease from May.

The Biden administration attributed the plunge to a series of new immigration policies that it recently implemented. These policies included lifting Title 42, a pandemic order that granted border agents authority to immediately remove or decline migrants on the grounds of Covid-19 prevention.

“Our sustained efforts to enforce consequences under our longstanding Title 8 authorities, combined with expanding access to lawful pathways and processes, have driven the number of migrant encounters along the Southwest border to their lowest levels in more than two years. We will remain vigilant,” said senior Customs and Border Protection official Troy Miller in a statement.

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The news came just days before U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar will rule in a challenge to the administration’s asylum ban, which bars some migrants from applying for protection if they cross the border illegally.

In response to claims that the policy is reminiscent of Donald Trump’s transit ban, Biden has argued that it emphasizes the ease of making appointments through the CBP One app. He has also cited the U.S.’s humanitarian parole program, which accepts 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Amid the early stages of the 2024 election cycle, all eyes will be on Biden as he works to continue the downward trend of illegal border crossings. Though the administration has seen promising results from its new system, Republicans have called it a Band-Aid approach to a long-standing political issue.

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