Attempted border crossings plummeted in Trump’s first month

Workers continue work raising a taller fence in the Mexico-US border area separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Last September, the U.S. Border Patrol began erecting an 18-foot-tall steel fence in this area considered very symbolic to immigration activists and also the site where, for the past 17 years, a binational Mass celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead is held to honor the migrants who have died trying to get to the United States. (AP Photo/Christian Torres)

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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.

RELATED: President Trump is reportedly considering cuts to the Coast Guard, TSA and FEMA to fund the border wall

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.

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