Who knew?--Enforcing immigration laws leads to drop in illegal crossings
The number of people who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border fell in February to 23,589, the lowest rate in nearly five-and-a-half years, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection stats released late Wednesday.The increased coyote fees are attributed to the greater risk of capture now that the law is being enforced. With that also comes a greater risk that those paying their fees will be disappointed with the results because they could be captured and returned losing their entire investment. That is a calculation that needs to be advertised in Central America in order to deter future attempts.
Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly said the "unprecedented" drop from 42,504 illegal entrants in January indicates President Trump's immigration policies are having an effect on border activity.
"Since the Administration's implementation of Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws, apprehensions and inadmissible activity is trending toward the lowest monthly total in at least the last five years," Kelly said in a statement.
While apprehensions — or the number of illegal aliens taken into custody by border agents — tends to decrease during the winter months, CBP historically has seen a 10 to 20 percent increase from January to February. The number of apprehensions went from 31,578 in January to 18,762 last month, a much sharper dropoff.
Kelly said the drop also indicates "many fewer people are putting themselves and their families at risk of exploitation, assault and injury by human traffickers and the physical dangers of the treacherous journey north."
One of the reasons for the drop may be attributed to the cost of travel for someone in Central America who wishes to make it to the U.S. Human smugglers or "coyotes" have hiked their prices by nearly 130 percent, according to DHS. Previously it would cost someone $3,500 for a coyote to guide them on their journey north, but since the election in November, those fees have jumped to $8,000 in some cases.