FACT CHECKING: President’s border crossings claim

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On Monday morning, the president tweeted about the declining number of people crossing the southern border. He praised General Kelly, who serves as the secretary of Homeland Security, for doing a great job.

The tweet read:

“General Kelly is doing a great job at the border. Numbers are way down. Many are not even trying to come in anymore.”

The president is correct in saying border crossings are way down. As for the number of people continuing to come to the U.S. illegally, the numbers remain significant but show signs of further decline.

As shown in a chart published by the U.S. Border Patrol, in the three months leading up to Trump’s taking office, the rush of people crossing the border illegally was incredibly high when compared to the same time period the year before.

The increase was over 100% when adding all border sectors as a whole. However, that changed once Trump was sworn in as president.

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On Mar. 8, 2017, General Kelly posted the following update:

“Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is releasing illegal border crossing data through the month of February and the numbers show an unprecedented decline in traffic. From January to February, the flow of illegal border crossings as measured by apprehensions and the prevention of inadmissible persons at our southern border dropped by 40 percent.

“The drop in apprehensions shows a marked change in trends. Since the Administration’s implementation of Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws, apprehensions and inadmissible activity is trending toward the lowest monthly total in at least the last five years. This change in the trend line is especially significant because CBP historically sees a 10-20 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigrants from January to February.  Instead, this year we saw a drop from 31,578 to 18,762 persons – a 40 percent decline.”

The chart below shows that the number of apprehensions was less than 20,000 in the short month of February. This is a great sign of promise, but the real test will be the number of people trying to cross in March and April when the night time temperatures are warmer and, thus, travel by foot is much easier.

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