August apprehensions at the southern border will likely not exceed 45,000, according to sources inside the U.S. Border Patrol. In fact, should current trends hold, August apprehensions will be nearly a 100,000 person reduction since May’s high of 144,000 – making August the third month in a row that apprehensions have fallen.
These predicted apprehensions offer a reason for cautious optimism. Below are five ways the Trump administration’s immigration initiatives have helped with this expected reduction:
- Mexican Government’s Crackdown on Illegal Immigration – In response to trade pressure from the Trump administration, Mexico promised to step up its security measures by dispatching thousands of federal troops to its Guatemalan border.
- The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – This agreement forged with the government of Mexico allows for would-be asylum seekers to remain in Mexico awaiting their court hearings in the U.S., which are generally 50 to 60 days later. So far, more than 35,000 people have been enrolled in the MPP instead of being caught and released into the U.S.
- The Safe Third Country Agreement with Guatemala – Set to take effect in the next month, the new “safe third country” agreement between the United States and Guatemala requires migrants that pass through Guatemala to apply for asylum there first. Only after they have been denied asylum in Guatemala can potential asylees seek safe haven in the U.S.
- New Flores Rule – The new Flores rule allows for families seeking asylum to be held together in family residential centers while their asylum cases are heard by the U.S. courts. This updated rule could greatly reduce catch and release by holding applicants until they receive their day in court.
- Construction of the Border Wall – The funding has been made available and new and repaired border wall is currently being built. This wall, where built, has been an incredibly effective deterrent to illegal immigration and has helped reduce cross-border crime.
Unfortunately, because nearly all of this has been accomplished outside of the legislative framework, it could be undone easily by the next administration. In other words, Congress needs to act to ensure these smart reforms stay in place. Only time will tell.