Customs and Border Patrol releases monthly totals for attempted illegal border crossings, and they’re normally pretty stable or follow established trends.
Not this month.
CNN and US Customs and Border Protection are reporting that 2017 apprehensions at the border have plummeted month-over-month. They went from 31,578 in January to 18,762 in February. That’s a drop of about 40 percent. Normally, border crossings slow down in the winter and pick up again in the spring. According to the DHS, there’s normally a 10 to 20 percent rise in apprehensions at the border between January and February.
Though one month’s change does not represent an established trend, it’s clearly something the Trump Administration likes to see. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly released a statement cheering the reduced numbers on Wednesday:
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 […] Since President Trump took office on January 20, we have seen a dramatic drop in numbers.
Kelly also said that fees charged by smugglers to get illegal immigrants over the border have more than doubled, to which he credits “changes in U.S policy, including the detention of apprehended aliens.”
“We are seeing an increase in the fees charged by human smugglers along the U.S. southwest border. Since Nov. 2016, ‘coyotes’ have hiked their fees in some areas by roughly 130 percent – from $3,500 to $8,000 in certain mountainous regions,” Kelly said.