DHS predicts big drop in border crossings this month

After recording the highest number of illegal border crossings since 2006 last month, the Department of Homeland Security said today it expects a big drop this month. From Fox News:

The acting head of the Department of Homeland Security on Friday said that he expects the number of migrants apprehended at the border will be lower by up to 25 percent in June than in previous months after Mexico increased its enforcement measures.

“It’s become clear that over the past three weeks since the administration reached a new agreement with Mexico that we’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of interdictions on the Mexican southern border, and a sincere effort to address the transportation networks coming through Mexico,” Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan told reporters.

Border crossings usually drop during the summer months because of the heat, however last year the drop for the same period was 17 percent, compared to 25 percent this year. So it appears we’re seeing the initial impact of Mexican efforts to stop illegal immigration. But McAleenan told reporters we won’t really know if this is a solid trend until next month. From the Washington Post:

McAleenan also said that historic seasonal patterns were less relevant to current migration trends. He and other administration officials say some of the influx is related to deficiencies in U.S. immigration laws and “loopholes” that generally allow adults who arrive with children to avoid detention and deportation.

“It’s more about the pull factors, in my experience, than traditional weather or agricultural or seasonal workers. This is a different situation,” he said, calling for further action from lawmakers to tighten U.S. regulations. “So I think we’re going to know basically by mid-July and certainly by the end of July whether these efforts are sustained and having a significant impact.”

McAleenan also had positive things to say about the passage of a bipartisan border bill yesterday. He promised the money would be put to improving conditions for detained migrants.

Of course, the crisis is a long way from over. A 25% reduction in border crossings is still over 100,000 people. At that pace, we’re still talking about more than a million people per year. Plus we still have a massive backlog of migrants waiting in Mexico to apply for asylum and a backlog of immigration cases from those already here. It’s still a big mess, in other words, but at least there is some hope that the numbers are heading in the right direction instead of ramping up. That looks like a win for the Trump administration.