‘Unprecedented decline’ seen in illegal border crossing data since President Trump took office

The Trump effect continues.

It looks like President Trump’s get-tough policies on immigration are already reaping rewards.

There has been a 40 percent decrease in illegal immigrants crossing the southern U.S. border since the president took office, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced in a statement on Wednesday.

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Illegal border crossings dropped from 31,578 people to 18,762, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

“The drop in apprehensions shows a marked change in trends,” Kelly said. “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.”

Trump ordered an increase in border security and gave the green light authorizing construction of the border wall he promised in executive orders he signed within days of taking office.

Kelly added that rates charged by smugglers to sneak people into the U.S. have risen dramatically.

“Since Nov. 2016, “coyotes” have hiked their fees in some areas by roughly 130 percent – from $3,500 to $8,000 in certain mountainous regions,” he said in the statement. “Changes in U.S. policy, including the detention of apprehended aliens, drive up the smuggling fees.”

The DHS chief called the sharp plunge in apprehension numbers “encouraging.”

“The decrease is also encouraging news because it means 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,” he said.

This total is lowest in the last five years, seeming to point to a correlation between tougher U.S. policies and the drop in numbers.

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“We will remain vigilant to respond to any changes in these trends, as numbers of illegal crossings typically increase between March and May,” Kelly concluded.  “However, the early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact.”

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Frieda Powers

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