US Troops Guard the Border
US National Guard troops reinforce a barbed-wire fence along the Rio Grande river as migrants look for a way to enter the United States AFP

The Biden administration is close to implementing a series of additional measures aimed at stemming the flow of migrants reaching the southern border, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

Suspending asylum requests and automatically denying entrance to migrants arriving after reaching a certain threshold are among them. President Joe Biden could sign off on them as soon as next Tuesday, but no final decision has been made.

Administration officials told the outlet that the threshold could amount to 4,000 migrants per day over a week, with doubts persisting about whether that figure includes those coming with appointments through U.S. Customs and Border Protection's CBP One app (1,450 a day).

Moreover, expelled migrants would find it harder to return. Mexico has reportedly agreed to take back migrants from other countries, including Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorians, as well as its own nationals.

Mexico has been instrumental in the decrease of arrivals to the southern border over the past months, with local authorities stopping nearly three times as many migrants within its territory compared to the previous year, according to a report by NBC News.

Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena has said the country committed to helping the U.S. reduce the flow of migrants to its southern border to 4,000 a day at most, the same figure mentioned in the AP report.

The effects are already showing, with unlawful crossings at the southern border decreasing by more than half compared to December's record-highs during the first three weeks of the month, according to government internal figures reported by CBS News.

Concretely, authorities encountered an average of 3,700 people a day between official ports of entry during the first three weeks of may, a 54% drop compared to the 8,000 seen in December, when figures reached an all-time high and reached a quarter of a million in a single month.

The stats also mean that May is on track to represent the third monthly consecutive drop in encounters. Should the month end with the mentioned average, it would total about 111,000 apprehensions, compared to March's 137,000 and April's 129,000.

This is not only significant because of the sustained drop, but also due to the fact that it continues bucking a seasonal trend, as encounters typically increase during the spring and as the summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.

Concerns about unlawful immigration have plummeted in Americans' consideration over the past month, no longer being the top response in a monthly Gallup survey.

Asked an open-ended question about what they think the most important problem the country is facing at the moment, the amount who answered immigration dropped nine percentage points from April to May (27% to 18%).

The topic now ranks below "the government," with 21% of answers, and is just above the "economy in general" (17%). The decrease coincides with a drop in economic confidence among Americans, with Gallup showing its economic confidence index at -34, when it was -20 just two months ago.

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