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Southern Border Apprehensions Drop For Eight Straight Months, DHS Official Says

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Enforcement actions along the U.S.-Mexico border fell for the eighth month in a row, following the Trump administration’s various directives aimed at controlling the illegal immigration crisis that peaked in 2019, a Department of Homeland Security official confirmed.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents conducted roughly 36,000 enforcement actions — which include apprehensions and denying entry to those arriving at a legal port of entry — for the month of January, said the DHS official who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation. The DHS official asked to remain anonymous as the official border numbers were not yet released.

January’s numbers, which were a 10% drop from December 2019, mark a continuing decline of enforcement actions along the U.S. southern border.

The Associated Press first reported on CBP’s enforcement actions for the month of January.

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose Martinez south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose Martinez south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

In May 2019, at the height of the immigration crisis, CBP officials reported more than 144,000 enforcement actions at the southern border. The unprecedented levels of incoming Central Americans, many of them family units, overwhelmed CBP resources and forced Congress to divert emergency funding to the agency. The crisis also prompted the resignation of then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Since that time, a number of Trump administration programs have contributed immensely to the decline in illegal immigration.

Migrant Protection Protocols, better known as “Remain in Mexico,” requires foreign nationals who claim asylum at the border to remain in Mexico for the duration of their court proceedings. Metering has also worked to stave off the number of people arriving at the border by limiting how many can cross and claim asylum on any given day. The administration also launched the Interior Repatriation Initiative, which deports Mexican nationals farther into the country instead of just across the border, making re-entry into the U.S. more difficult.

Trump has also been successful at landing bilateral agreements with the countries directly involved with the immigration crisis. He notably threatened Mexico with tariffs if the country’s leaders did not do more to prevent illegal aliens from crossing its territory, leading to a rampant effort by the government to stop illegal immigration. Mexican national troops are fending off a migrant caravan at its own southern border.

Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the three Northern Triangle counties that are home to the majority of the Central American migrants arriving at the U.S. border, have also entered into asylum agreements with Washington, D.C. (RELATED: ‘Ripped Our Hearts Out’: SOTU Guest Whose Brother Was Murdered Reacts To Pelosi Ripping Up Speech)

January’s border numbers are a 75% decrease from May’s border enforcement numbers, and the drop is more steep than seasonal norms — indicating that the immigration programs are having a real effect.

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