The number of undocumented immigrants caught by Border Patrol agents as they attempt to cross the Southwest border has plunged dramatically, dropping 40% since President Trump took office and signed sweeping executive orders to enforce immigration laws, reports the Los Angeles Times.
About 840 people a day were caught trying to cross the border or deemed inadmissible after presenting themselves at a port of entry in February, down from about 1,370 a day in January, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Although there are often seasonal fluctuations — fewer immigrants usually attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. in winter — Border Patrol agents typically see a 10% to 20% surge of people making the journey in February.
Trump's supporters and leading members of his administration are celebrating the new data as an early payoff of the new president's strident stance on illegal immigration.
"The early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact," Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said, citing it as "encouraging news."
"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," he added.