The Washington Post reported on Monday that “the number of migrant families crossing the border illegally has been falling in recent weeks, according to preliminary figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.” Despite this positive development, U.S. officials say it is too soon to get “a full picture of the impact on migration trends” resulting from President Trump’s deal with Mexico to avoid tariffs in exchange for greater efforts to curb the flow of migrants through their country into the United States.
U.S. authorities detained more than 85,000 “family unit” members at the border in May, an average of nearly 2,800 per day. That number has declined about 13 percent since the beginning of June, a period during which Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico and the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to an immigration crackdown to avoid the penalty.
Overall, U.S. officials say they are expecting a 15 percent to 20 percent decline in border arrests from May, when authorities detained more than 144,000 and migration levels reached their highest point since 2006. The portion of migrants arriving as part of a family group has reached unprecedented levels in recent months, overwhelming U.S. border authorities who say they are ill-equipped to care for so many parents with children.
Mexico has deployed thousands of national guard forces since making the agreement with the Trump administration. One U.S. official told The Washington Post, “We are seeing initial actions and we are seeing some signs they’re having an impact.”
During the negotiations to avert tariffs, White House officials told Mexico that Trump wanted to see border crossings back at the historic lows tallied during 2017.
The Mexican government did not commit to a specific, numerical enforcement goal during the negotiations, a senior Mexican official said Monday. But Mexico has assured the United States that their enforcement efforts will deliver the major reductions in migration levels Trump is demanding.
President Trump has also promised to start deporting “millions” of illegal immigrants next week.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis