Arrests at the United States’ southern Border have reached their lowest point in 17 years, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Fewer than 17,000 illegal aliens were caught attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border last month, compared to more than 58,000 in December, 2016, and 48,150 in March of last year. Contributing to this improvement is a steep decline of Unaccompanied Alien Minors (UAMs) attempting to enter the country. Fewer than 1,000 UAMs were apprehended, compared to 4,209 in March of 2016.
The presumed drop in attempted illegal crossings is “no mistake,” according to Secretary Kelly. In a written testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, he lauded “successful efforts” by border agents and “the support of our leadership in the White House” as primary factors.
Ever since announcing his candidacy, President Trump has spoken strongly in favor of enforcing existing immigration laws. This rhetoric appears to be giving potential illegal aliens second thoughts about trying to enter the United States – at least until they see what policies the administration ends up implementing and/or enforcing.
These results make sense. If a person is told that they are not welcome to illegally enter a particular location, they are far less likely to even try. The astounding decline in illegal entries appears to be proving that the message the Trump administration is sending to would-be illegal immigrants is having the desired effect.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, either, because history tells the same story. As noted by the Federation of American Immigration Reform in the past, a combination of rhetoric and action – even though many believe it was far from enough – helped former President Bill Clinton significantly boost “voluntary removals” and curb attempted crossings by would-be illegal immigrants.
Removing the incentives for illegal aliens to violate our laws is the cheapest, most effective, and most humane means of reducing illegal immigration. This approach starts with changing the narrative and ending the distribution of benefits currently available to illegal aliens. As is being witnessed, fewer unauthorized migrants will attempt to enter the United States when the river of incentives starts to dry up.