US Customs and Border Protection reopening four ports of entry after migrant surge subsides

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(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reopening operations at four ports of entry in border towns.

Biden administration officials announced Tuesday that due to the decrease in migrants over the past few days, they will reopen operations in Lukeville, Arizona; Eagle Pass, Texas; San Diego, California; and Nogales, Arizona, on Jan. 4. CBP previously closed the entry ports over what the agency said was a surge in migrants at those locations.

“CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “We continue to assess security situations, adjust our operational plans, and deploy resources to maximize enforcement efforts against those noncitizens who do not use lawful pathways or processes – such as scheduling an appointment via CBP One – and those without a legal basis to remain in the United States.”

On a call with reporters Tuesday night, senior administration officials touted the successes of a meeting last week between the Mexican government and Secretary State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. They pointed to the meeting as one of the reasons the Mexican government was helpful in tackling the flow of migration into the U.S. and said they would host officials from the Mexican government this month.

There were 500 encounters on Monday in the Del Rio, Texas sector, which encompasses Eagle Pass, a decline from the record number of daily encounters seen at the border last month, a senior official said.

Eagle Pass is where House Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans will visit on Wednesday. Officials on Tuesday night’s call urged House Republicans to come to the table after a deal on border funding, which they said was headed in the “right direction,” is negotiated in the Senate.

A senior administration official said Speaker Johnson and House Republicans “should stop playing games and stop playing politics and work with them and the Senate to pass meaningful reforms.”

President Joe Biden weighed in on the negotiations on Tuesday, telling pool reporters that Republicans “ought to” give his Administration the money they asked for.

“We ought to do something,” he said as he returned to The White House.

Preliminary data show that 302,000 migrants were apprehended at the southern border in December, sources told ABC News — the highest monthly average in U.S. history.

A senior administration official said that since the end of Title 42 in May, they’ve removed or returned 460,000 migrants to their home countries, including 75,000 family units,

“This is almost the same number as we removed in all of fiscal year 2019, and in fact exceeds the number of removals and returns in each full fiscal year from 2015 to 2018,” a senior administration official said.

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