By Steve Neavling
Border Patrol apprehensions plummeted 40% since Donald Trump was sworn into office, a sign that his tough talk on immigration may be working.
“This trend is encouraging because it means many fewer people are putting themselves and their families at risk of exploitation, assault and injury by human traffickers and the physical dangers of the treacherous journey north,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement, McClatchy reports.
In February, Border Patrol apprehended 18,762 people, a steep decline over the 31,578 detained in January.
One month of statistics does not necessarily reflect a new trend, but the drop is significant considering border agents apprehended more family members entering the United States along the Southwest border in fiscal year 2016 than they did in 2014, when tens of thousands of migrants from Central America flooded the U.S. border fleeing poverty and violence.
Raising even more questions about the Obama administration’s part enforcement, part humanitarian assistance strategy, both family apprehensions and detentions of unaccompanied children increased dramatically last year, with family apprehensions nearly doubling and the number children traveling without parents increasing 52 percent.
Trump’s blunt approach, at least, initially appears to be having a dramatic impact.
Supporters certainly will credit the decrease to tougher policies and a clearer statement from the administration that it’s serious about being tough on illegal immigration. Advocates won’t disagree, but are likely to note that the drop might also be attributable to new strategies on the part of migrants and smugglers responding to the administration’s tactics.