The number of individuals apprehended for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border dropped dramatically in February, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is crediting the Trump administration with the decline in activity by unlawful foreigners.
The month of February saw 18,762 apprehensions, which is lower than any comparable period in the past five years, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency reported Wednesday.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called the drop from January’s 31,578 apprehensions “unprecedented.”
“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,” Kelly announced in a statement.
While winter months will typically see declines, the comparison between the months of January and February would not explain a 40 percent decrease in illicit activity leading to apprehensions.
Sec. Kelly said the drop indicates “many fewer people are putting themselves and their families at risk of exploitation, assault, and injury by human traffickers and the physical dangers of the treacherous journey north.”
Another factor to weigh in is the increased rate being charged to transport individuals from Central America to the U.S. via human smugglers, also referred to as “coyotes.”
Since Trump’s election in November, rates charged by traffickers have increased by 130 percent, rising from $3,500 on average to as high as $8,000 per person. The rate hike, in turn, could be attributed to the impact of Trump’s executive action, lessening the demand for services.
Smugglers also face a greater risk under President Trump, as the result of changes in detention policies. Last month, the administration effectively deleted the practice of “catch and release,” which allowed illegal aliens to remain in the States while awaiting a hearing before a judge.
The coming warmer months would, in the past, have signaled an upward trend in the activity of illegal migrants. However, Sec. Kelly is confident that proactive efforts by the DHS will continue to have a positive effect.
“[T]he early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact,” Kelly said.
H/T: Washington Examiner
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