Border arrests down for sixth straight month

President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” program for asylum seekers is being credited for six consecutive months of decreases in arrests at the border.

CBP vehicle near the U.S.-Mexico border. / Creative Commons / CC-BY SA 4.0

Arrests of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border have plummeted by 75 percent since May, one of the most dramatic drops in recent history “and a sign that policy changes by the Trump administration and Mexico are reducing migration to the U.S.,” the Wall Street Journal noted in a Dec. 9 report.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday that 33,510 people were arrested after illegally crossing the border in November. In May that number was 132,000 —a 13-year high.

“This is a direct result due to this president’s strategies to address the historic flood of Central Americans, families, illegally crossing the border,” acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Mark Morgan said at a press conference Monday. “The network of initiatives have worked and continues to work.”

Analysts have said Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program has deterred many immigrants from coming to the U.S. due to knowledge that they are likely to be stranded in Mexico for months while their cases are decided.

“I think the big factor has been the Trump administration policies,” said Randy Capps, director of research of U.S. programs at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

Capps also said Mexico’s improved security efforts at its southern border with Guatemala have made an impact on the number of people seeking to come to the U.S. Mexico undertook the security effort after tariff threats from the Trump administration. Most migrant families in recent years have traveled through Mexico from the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Mexican authorities arrested about 81,000 foreign migrants between June and September, nearly double the number from the previous year, according to Mexico’s immigration agency.

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