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Illegal immigration plummets since Trump inauguration

Illegal immigration across the southwest border plummeted in the weeks after President Trump took office, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said Wednesday, declaring an early victory from Mr. Trump’s get-tough policies.

In addition to a drop in number of illegal immigrants nabbed while attempting to cross, Mr. Kelly also said they seen a dramatic spike in the rates charged by smugglers paid to sneak people into the US — surging $ 3000, to $ 8,000, since November.

Mr. Kelly called the drop in apprehensions “unprecedented.” The number of people caught at the border is considered a good indication of the overall flow, so a drop in apprehensions is believed to signal a drop in total number of crossers.

“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,” Mr. Kelly said.

All told, some 23,589 people were caught trying to enter without permission at the border in February. That’s the lowest number for the month in years, and it’s a 40 percent drop from the 42,504 caught in January.

In fact, it’s the lowest number for any month dating back at least to 2012, when monthly statistics were first released.

The Obama administration and its allies among immigrant-rights groups had long argued that the surge of illegal immigration in recent years, chiefly from Central America, was waves of people fleeing horrific conditions. Those groups argued there was little the U.S. could or should do to stem the flow.

But Border Patrol officials, in internal documents, had said the surge was due to lax enforcement within the U.S. They had predicted that a policy imposing tougher consequences for illegal immigration could stem the flow.

Mr. Kelly said Wednesday that appears to be the case.

“The early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact,” he said.

The drop was severe across all categories.

The number of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children caught by the Border Patrol fell below 2,000, while the number of people traveling as families was just 3,124. In January that number had been 9,300, and in December it had been more than 16,000.

Mr. Kelly said the massive drops were the result of Mr. Trump’s new policies, which have given agents at the border and in the interior more leeway to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.

Mr. Trump has also promised to hire 5,000 more border agents and to build a wall across the southwest border, though neither of those plans has taken shape yet.

Instead, would-be immigrants appear to be responding to Mr. Trump’s get-tough rhetoric.

Mr. Kelly said his department will be monitoring to see what happens in March, April and May, when the number of apprehensions — and therefore crossers — usually jumps.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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