US homeland security chief says border crossings are down 50% since Title 42 expiration

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Texas National Guard stand guard on the banks of the Rio Bravo river, as seen from Ciudad Juarez

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. border patrol agents have seen a 50% drop in the number of migrants crossing the border since the pandemic-era immigration policy known as Title 42 expired at midnight on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on CNN's "State of the Union" program on Sunday.

"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.

"It is still early. We are in day three. But we have been planning for this transition for months and months."

Mayorkas said that U.S. Border Patrol agents had about 6,300 encounters with border-crossers on Friday and another 4,200 on Saturday, compared with more than 10,000 shortly before Title 42's expiration.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)