Arrests along the United States-Mexico border have dropped as a direct result of the controversy surrounding illegal border crossing and the subsequent separation of children from their parents.
Border enforcement has been a top priority for President Trump and under his administration, the arrests of migrants looking to illegally enter the U.S. has seen months of record-high levels.
Washington Examiner reports the immigration numbers for the month of June, however, show slightly more than 34,000 people were arrested. This is a 15 percent drop from May’s 40,000 people arrested.
Per the report:
This figure does not include the number of people who arrived at ports of entry.
“As a matter of policy, CBP releases the apprehension and inadmissible numbers between the 6th and 8th of the following month to ensure accuracy and consistency,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs Andrew Meehan said in an email. “CBP does not comment on unofficial numbers.”
The drop would come three months after the start of Trump’s April-implemented zero tolerance immigration policy.
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters in McAllen, Texas, last week that he expected the June numbers, which will include other numbers in addition to those apprehended by Border Patrol between ports, to be down from May.
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“The June numbers are looking like they’re going to be lower,” McAleenan said.
He pointed to the agency and Border Patrol’s increased focus on border enforcement as what prompted what he forecast would be a downturn in the number of apprehended adults, unaccompanied minors, and family units in the month of June.
Homeland Security Department press secretary Tyler Houlton similarly commented that, while the Trump administration is implementing stringent immigration policies, the process of securing the border will take a dedicated effort over a long time.
“These numbers show that while the Trump administration is restoring the rule of law, it will take a sustained effort and continuous commitment of resources over many months to disrupt cartels, smugglers, and nefarious actors,” Houlton said, as Washington Examiner reports. “We are taking action and will be referring and then prosecuting 100 percent of illegal border crossers, we are building the first new border wall in a decade, and we have deployed the National Guard to the border.”
The drop in the border arrests has been directly affected by the controversy and publicity of children being separated at the border. The tragic situation motivated President Trump to take action in signing an executive order which suspended the “zero tolerance” arrest policy.
“I’m suggesting since the executive order we have prosecuted adults that came across with children, but we are not doing that widely because of the guidance in the executive order to maintain a family unit,” McAleenan added.
Trump said he didn’t like the “sight or the feeling of families being separated,” as Washington Examiner also reports.
“Nobody has had the political courage to take care of it,” Trump also said, speaking on his signed order. “The border is just as tough but we do want to keep families together.”