[Ed. – As Allahpundit points out, that’s a significant pairing of trends. I wouldn’t discount a difference in enforcement, however. Trump’s “informational” effect is probably making a difference. But Obama had the CBP so hog-tied that it was doing less than could have, even with the inadequate assets it has today. Kelly may be formally correct that no top-down policy changes have been implemented — but that doesn’t mean the patrolmen aren’t making day-to-day decisions differently now. I’m betting they are, because they’ll know they have back-up they didn’t have before.]
The most remarkable thing about this is that it’s happening amid good economic news. It takes a lot of deterrence to keep a would-be illegal from crossing the border with the prospect of a (relatively) high-paying American job on the other side. And Trump wants a lot of deterrence — but most of his wishes are, for now, still wishes. He wants 15,000 more Border Patrol agents and of course a long, long wall (with a big door!), but those goals are still a ways off. And yet, apparently, illegals are staying home anyway. I wonder what sort of rumors are being spread in Mexico about the special new perils of trying to illegally enter Trump’s America. Even with the media attention given to ICE raids over the past two months, the odds of any individual illegal being picked up are vanishingly small, especially a new arrival who’s not on the agency’s radar yet.
Oh well. Whatever works.
John Kelly says in written testimony submitted to a Senate panel that fewer than 12,500 people were caught crossing the border last month. That compares with more than 43,000 who were detained in February. It’s the lowest monthly figure in at least 17 years.
Kelly says the decrease is “no accident” and credits President Donald Trump’s approach to illegal immigration. The Trump administration has not yet changed how the border is patrolled, but the president’s tough talk on immigration and arrests of immigrants living in the country illegally have likely acted as deterrents.