August southern border apprehensions dropped dramatically, down to around 64,000, a sign of an impressively effective diplomatic agreement between the U.S. and Mexico.
The 64,006 apprehensions represent a 22 percent drop from July, when 82,055 were apprehended, and a staggering 56 percent drop from the peak of the crisis in May, when more than 144,000 migrants were caught or deemed inadmissible.
While the numbers typically drop in the summer, the plummet is steeper than typical seasonal declines.
The number of caravans has also taken a hit. In May, 48 caravans of migrants were recorded coming to the U.S. In August, the tally was a measly 6.
Border Patrol now has fewer than 5,000 migrants in custody, down from 19,000 at the peak in the spring.
The Trump administration says that while the numbers are still at crisis level, the numbers show the extent to which Trump policies are working and that countries south of the border are taking action to stop the flows in response to pressure from the U.S.
“That international effort is making an impact. Mexican operational interdiction is certainly [the] highlight of that effort, but the shared responsibility we’re seeing in the region, governments stepping up and saying we also own this,” Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said.
A senior administration official also said “the tariff threat with Mexico changed the dynamic significantly with our partners.”
He was referring to Trump’s announcement in May that he intended to impose tariffs on Mexico if it did not help the U.S. combat the migration crisis flowing through the southern border.
Trump ultimately suspended the tariffs after a deal was reached that included Mexico taking “unprecedented steps” to boost enforcement, including deploying its National Guard, while the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), known informally as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, was expanded.
A senior administration official pointed to engagement with countries in Central America and agreements made with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador on issues such as human smuggling – the main countries sending migrants to the U.S. The official said that Honduras has so far more than doubled its border force after the U.S. requested, they triple it.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is pushing to make more changes back at home. This includes a rule that says that migrants cannot claim asylum if they have passed through other safe countries.
But the numbers are still higher than August last year. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan called the work being done by the administration a “game changer” but warned that Congress needs to act in order for that work to be sustained.
“For this to be a durable, lasting positive impact to address this crisis, Congress has to act,” he told reporters at a briefing Monday. “It has to pass meaningful legislation that we’ve been telling them for a long time they need to do to effectively address the loopholes in our current legal framework.”
With Democrats leaning further left than ever before, congressional action is unclear.
Undoubtedly, the biggest piece of the puzzle is a completed border wall, which would play a huge role in shutting down almost entirely the passage of illegals into the states. Democrats, as we know, have been stalling this for as long as possible in order to let as many of their voters – illegal immigrants – into the country.
However, with House Democrats increasingly taking liberal positions on illegal immigration issues, fueled by 2020 candidates who have been embracing policies such as closing detention centers and giving health care to illegal immigrants, the future of congressional action is unclear.