Unauthorized border crossings decreased 40 percent after President Donald Trump’s first month in office, the US Customs and Border Protection reports.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly credited enforcement and Trump’s tough talk.
On Wednesday, CBP released figures showing that 18,762 undocumented immigrants were stopped at the US-Mexico border in February, a steep drop from the previous month when 31,578 were apprehended.
What made the 40 percent drop all the more notable was that typically there is an increase in traffic this time of year, according to Secretary Kelly.
“CBP historically sees a 10-20 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigrants from January to February,” the DHS chief said in a statement Wednesday.
There had been an increase in traffic in the months leading up to the sudden decrease as well, according to DHS.
The border agency recorded 157,000 captures from October 1, 2016 to January 20, 2017, the day of the presidential inauguration, representing a 35 percent uptick from the same period a year before, Kelly said. Additionally, families crossing illegally went up over 100 percent.
Kelly also cited price increases from “coyotes,” or smugglers, who “hiked their fees in some areas by roughly 130 percent – from $3,500 to $8,000 in certain mountainous regions,” the secretary said.
On January 25, Trump signed an executive order calling for a border wall and intensified enforcement. Trump has also called for 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and 5,000 border patrol officers to be hired, which the DHS has agreed to authorize.