Apprehensions of unlawful and inadmissible migrants at the U.S. southern border were at 64,006 during the month of August, down from a record-setting 144,255 for the month of May — a 56 percent decrease.
At a White House press briefing on Monday, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan attributed the drop to a combination of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement actions and international collaboration with the government of Mexico.
“Why do we see in 90 days a 56 percent reduction?” Morgan asked rhetorically in a prepared statement. “The president has made it very clear that he is going to use every tool available to him and this administration to address this unprecedented crisis at the southern border.”
Morgan went on to say that the Mexican government has “taken meaningful and unprecedented steps to help curb the flow of illegal immigration to our border.” As examples of those steps, the CBP head cited a “substantial increase” in the number of aliens apprehended by Mexican authorities from the previous calendar year, as well as the country’s deployment of troops to its northern and southern borders.
Another big factor behind the falling border numbers, Morgan added, is the deterrence created by the administration’s enforcement operations.
“President Trump is making it clear that if you come to the United States of America illegally, you will be removed,” the border chief stated. “If you come here as an illegal alien in the United States, if you commit crimes or illegally take American jobs, you will face consequences.”
Morgan also noted that the August apprehension number showed a 22 percent decline from the previous month of July, which saw just over 82,000 apprehensions. A fact sheet from the administration says this was “the first time in 5 years that border apprehensions decreased from July to August, making clear that this is not simply a seasonal decline.”
Another indicator suggesting that the decline was likely more the result of enforcement and deterrence than the oppressively hot summer weather is the difference in the decreases between single adults and family units, which have been the main drivers of the recent crisis.
However, while the apprehension numbers suggest that the tide of the border crisis has indeed begun to turn, it’s far from over. The fact sheet notes that the total apprehensions for this year are still 129 percent of what they were during the same point of the last fiscal year.
You can watch Morgan’s entire press conference here: