WASHINGTON, March 9, 2017 — President Trump’s tough line on the border has resulted in a dramatic decrease in apprehensions of illegal immigrants along our southern border.
According to the New York Times, there was a 39 percent drop in apprehensions from January, a clear reversal of a multi-year trend of apprehensions rising in February, when more people attempt to cross the border. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told the Times, “The drop from January to February was from 31,578 apprehensions to 18,762 apprehensions.”
Equally impressive was the decline in apprehensions from a year ago. The number fell to about 840 people caught or stopped each day from entering the country from Mexico. According to officials with Customs and Border Protection, this represents an almost 36 percent drop from 2016.
As Kelly observed, “The drop in apprehensions shows a marked change in trends.”
Illegal immigrants have apparently gotten the message that Trump will be tough on the border, a message clearly sent by his executive order on immigration.
Former President Barack Obama’s “catch and release” program did little to inhibit illegal immigrants from entering America or leaving. Only a minute number of those caught ever showed up for a hearing.
Since Trump ended catch and release and lifted Obama’s restrictions on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, stricter enforcement of the nation’s immigration security measures can be realized.
The Trump administration’s tighter border security enforcement measures have strongly affected another aspect of illegal immigrant activities. According to Secretary Kelly, “We are seeing an increase in the fees charges by human smugglers along the U.S. southwest border.” The fees for “coyotes” (human smugglers) have increased from $3,500 to $8,000 in certain regions since Trump won the election in November.
Another key aspect to Trump’s tough border policies is the possible negative psychological impact it may have had on those who are now giving second thoughts to trying to sneak across the border. With the president already planning to hire thousands of new border patrol and ICE officers, there is the possible fear that they may be more severely prosecuted both in the United States as well as in their home country when they are returned.