It will still take months to figure out if the decrease in apprehensions are indications of a lasting Trump effect
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly himself announced the month-to-month numbers
Illegal Southwest border crossings were down 40% last month, according to just released Customs and Border Protection numbers – a sign that President Donald Trump’s hardline rhetoric and policies on immigration may be having a deterrent effect.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly himself announced the month-to-month numbers, statistics that CBP usually quietly posts on its website without fanfare.
According to CBP data, the 40% drop in illegal Southwest border crossings from January to February is far outside normal seasonal trends. Typically, the January to February change is actually an increase of 10% to 20%.
The drop breaks a nearly 20-year trend, as CBP data going back to 2000 shows an uptick in apprehensions every February.
The number of apprehensions and inadmissible individuals presenting at the border was 18,762 people in February, down from 31,578 in January.
It will still take months to figure out if the decrease in apprehensions is an indication of a lasting Trump effect on immigration patterns. Numbers tend to decrease seasonally in the winter and increase into the spring months.
But the sharp downtick after an uptick at the end of the Obama administration could fit the narrative that it takes tough rhetoric on immigration – backed up by policy – to get word-of-mouth warnings to undocumented immigrants making the harrowing journey to the border.
“Firmness pays,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an advocacy group that supports vastly restricting immigration to the US.