Border patrol officials say that the number of migrant crossings is down significantly from the levels seen in the spring. And while the furious heat of the summer months is a factor in discouraging migrants, Sector Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez says that the Trump administration’s push to get Mexico to cooperate with immigration efforts has paid dividends.
“We’ve been monitoring the apprehension numbers closely, specifically going back 70 days before June 10 and 70 days after June 10,” Chavez told Fox News. “And what we’ve seen here in Laredo Sector is a reduction in 30 percent in our apprehension numbers, southwest border-wide numbers are down 38 percent.”
Trump powerful ultimatum to Mexico of ‘shape up or pay for it’ which was announced in May that he would impose tariffs on Mexico if it did not help the U.S. combat the migration crisis has made a huge impact. Trump ultimately suspended the tariffs days before after a deal was reached that included Mexico taking “unprecedented steps” to boost enforcement, including deploying its National Guard, while the “Remain in Mexico” policy by which asylum applicants were returned to Mexico for their hearings was expanded.
Officials at Laredo’s Border Patrol sector on Tuesday briefed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli, who is visiting the border this week as part of his efforts to understand the immense migration challenge, on the status of their efforts.
“Much like yesterday when we viewed the Remain in Mexico courtrooms that are being put up, it’s really just a granular understanding of how things are working on the ground as opposed to how we all talk about it on paper in Washington,” Cuccinelli said.
Results are being seen across the entire border. CBP said this month that it encountered just 82,049 people in July, down a whopping 21 percent from June when there were 104,344 people and down an even more incredible 43 percent from May. The number of families and minors crossing the border also dropped.
Chavez says that, along with efforts by the DHS toward further collaboration with Central American governments, it is helping reduce the once-overwhelming flow.
“So ever since June 10, I think a lot of things have been happening. DHS has done a lot in terms of what they have been doing with Central America, we’ve seen Mexico come to the table, we’ve also seen the Migration Protection Protocols,” he said, referring to the official name of the “Remain in Mexico” policy. “So all those things need to continue.”
Cuccinelli praised Trump’s efforts in bringing Mexico to the table: “He took a tactic that none of his predecessors, Democrat or Republican, before him have taken and it’s been very successful.”
“Here they were swamped in May, we’re still at crisis numbers, but it seems so low compared to May and those crossings and apprehensions continue on a genuine downward decline,” he told reporters from Fox News.
Cuccinelli, who has made sweeping changes to the U.S. legal immigration system since becoming acting director of USCIS in June, said that further cooperation – including a recent “safe third country” deal with Guatemala – are all tools needed to keep the numbers dropping.
“Integration in the region — not just here in the U.S. and in Mexico but in the Northern Triangle as well and beyond — is coming together slowly but surely to help all of us work together to have the tools to keep driving down the raw numbers that have really created the crisis on our southern border,” he said.