Illegal Border Crossings Drop By Half Under Coronavirus Shutdown

PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
Font Size:

Since the Trump administration ordered a shutdown of the U.S.-Mexico border, government officials are reporting a roughly 50% drop in illegal alien apprehensions.

Under orders from the Centers for Disease Control, the Trump administration on Friday declared a lockdown of the southern and northern borders, permitting only the flow of “essential” travel. In that short time, border officials have revealed that they are seeing a huge drop in the flow of illegal aliens.

“Since [Customs and Border Protection] began implementing [the CDC] order, we’ve seen a major decline in traffic at our borders — 54% decrease at ports and 52% decline in USBP encounters — while trade remains level,” CBP acting commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted Sunday. “These reductions reflect a historic & aggressive containment strategy by [President Donald Trump] to protect the US.”

Morgan was not the only one to report a steep decline in the flow of traffic at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Without that documentation, we see individuals coming into the country without proper identity documents, without travel documents, without medical history. So it’s very hard to make a public health determination on those individuals,” Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said Sunday during an appearance on Fox Business.

Wolf was speaking about DHS actions in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. Allowing individuals to enter the U.S. with unknown medical histories risks exacerbating the spread of the disease, and so the CDC ordered a shutdown of all non-essential flow between the border.

“The CDC said we need to suspend that, so that’s what the Department has been doing over the last 24 hours — and I would say that it’s working,” Wolf added. “We’ve seen almost a 50% drop in illegal apprehensions, those illegal individuals coming across our borders.” (RELATED: State Department Raises Travel Alert, Urges Americans To Avoid International Travel)


A Border patrol officer walks along the US-Mexico border fence at Borderfield State Park in San Ysidro, California on November 20, 2018. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker / AFP) (Photo credit should read SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

Under the border shutdown order, only certain travel is permitted — which can include travel for medical reasons, educational purposes, emergency response operations, lawful cross-border trade, and some other “essential” services. Anyone appearing at the southern border without proper documentation will be turned back.

However, there appears to be an exception to this rule regarding unlawful immigration.

The Mexican government announced that it would not accept anyone other than Mexicans and Central Americans. While these people make up a vast bulk of the illegal aliens apprehended by Border Patrol, there are still thousands of “extra-contintenal” migrants that make it to the border. These migrants can include Brazilians, Chinese, Africans and others.

A fact sheet released by DHS on Monday said that all illegal aliens will be be “immediately” returned to the country where they entered from — either Mexico or Canada. DHS added that, concerning migrants who cannot be sent back, CBP would return them to their country of origin.

“Extra-continentals will be sent to ICE for repatriation to their countries as soon as possible,” Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Matthew Dyman clarified on Monday to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

As of Monday morning, there have been more than 33,000 individuals in the U.S. who have tested positive for coronavirus, and at least 428 people have died from the virus. Around the globe, more than 341,000 people have tested positive and at least 15,187 have died from coronavirus-related illnesses.

Update: This post was updated to include comment from Customs and Border Protection.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact