The number of people caught trying to illegally cross the southern border dropped another 9% last month. CNN reports apprehensions are at their lowest point in the past 17 years:

In April, there were 11,129 total apprehensions at the Southwest border. That is the lowest in 17 years of available CBP data, the third straight month that apprehensions hit historic lows. Prior to the Trump administration, the lowest monthly total going back to 2000 was in December 2011, when 18,983 apprehensions were recorded at the southern border.

Apprehensions were down 62% from the previous April, though a variety of factors including weather and economics can cause fluctuations in numbers.

Fox News has some quotes from a DHS spokesman about the reasons for the decline:

DHS spokesman David Lapan attributed the drop to a “change in our enforcement policy.”

“People in Central America are waiting and watching what happens rather than taking the long journey,” Lapan said.

He added, “When you get here, it’s likely you will be caught and returned to your country. We’re going to enforce the laws.”

Back when we had a sudden surge of unaccompanied minors coming across the border from Central America, Democrats argued it was caused by factors driving those people out of their home countries and not by factors like DACA, drawing people here. From the LA Times, June 2014:

“None of the unaccompanied children crossing our border would be eligible for DACA,” [Sen. Richard Durbin] said. “Why are they coming if it isn’t the lure of these laws? They’re fleeing for their lives.”…

“These are kids who are coming here because of what’s happening in their own country,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Downey) said. “I just hope that at some point, we’ll be able to put these polarizing arguments aside and look at it from the basis of what the facts are and how we can realistically address this issue.”

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said the crisis was largely caused by thousands in Central America who believe “it is better to run for their lives and risk dying than to stay and die for certain.”

The situation in Central America hasn’t dramatically improved in the past 3 months. Clearly, the difference between record high border crossings and record lows has a lot to do with the message coming from the White House. As the DHS spokesman said the message now is, “We’re going to enforce the laws.”