Illegal immigration across the southwest border plummeted in the weeks after President Trump took office, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly announced Wednesday, calling the drop an early sign that Mr. Trump’s get-tough policies are working.

In addition to a drop in the number of illegal immigrants nabbed while attempting to cross, Mr. Kelly said, they have seen a dramatic spike in the rates charged by smugglers paid to sneak people into the U.S.

Routes that cost $3,500 in November now cost $8,000, he said — another signal that smuggling cartels’ business is suffering.

Mr. Kelly called the drop in apprehensions unprecedented. The number of people caught at the border is considered a good indication of the overall flow, so a drop in apprehensions is believed to signal a drop in total number of illegal crossings.

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