Border Patrol apprehensions on the US-Mexico border dropped in January, marking a decline for the eighth consecutive month, according to CNN.
U.S. authorities apprehended 29,200 people at the border in January, down from the 32,858 arrests, 11 percent decrease from December, data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data showed. However, this month’s arrests are higher than January 2018, when 25,975 people were apprehended.
Trump uses the monthly border numbers and data as a benchmark to determine how his policies are working, and an indicator of potential issues in other countries causing people to flee.
The drop in apprehensions is significantly down from last May, when there were more than 132,856 arrests and 144,000 encounters with migrant children and families, the large majority from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The immigration system was vastly strained, and some border patrol facilities faced extreme overcrowding.
CBP does not comment on monthly numbers until they are publicly released by the agency each month.
Last month, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said the decline was a “direct result of President (Donald) Trump’s network of policy initiatives” and the agency’s ability to “effectively enforce the law, enhance our border security posture and properly care for those in custody.”
The Trump Administration has focused its southwest border policy on enlisting Mexican and Central American authorities to act and apprehend migrants moving north. The new Migrant Protection Protocol forces migrants to wait in Mexico for their US court proceedings. “The Administration is also sending some asylum seekers to Guatemala to seek humanitarian protections there,” reports CNN.
These policies have been criticized as inhumane and a violation of law, by public figures, advocates and lawmakers. Lawsuits have been filed against the administration’s attempts to change US asylum policy.