A Drastic Drop in Migrant Arrivals on the Border: What’s Happening?


SAN DIEGO — At its peak, the nonprofit shelter run by Jewish Family Service of San Diego held more than 300 migrants dropped off by United States immigration authorities after they crossed the border from Mexico. Some days this spring were so busy that new arrivals had to be sent to overflow sites.

Now, the shelter is almost eerily empty. The number of people arriving there has plunged in recent weeks amid a precipitous decline in arrivals along the southern border, where the Department of Homeland Security said that apprehensions dropped 28 percent in June.

While migrant arrivals typically decline as the hot, hazardous summer months set in, the Department of Homeland Security said the drop in June was much larger than the 11 percent drop in June of last year.

The difference suggested that the Trump administration’s long push to curtail the arrival of migrants at the southern border is finally showing results.

Since he took office, President Trump has made it a cornerstone of his administration to halt the flow of undocumented migrants, expanding security fencing, slowing processing at ports of entry and locking up record numbers of migrants.

The administration’s latest policies have gone a step further. The threat of tariffs helped push Mexico to deploy security forces on its own southern border, curtailing the flow of migrants from neighboring Guatemala.

A second initiative has forced many migrants to return to Mexico to await the outcome of their asylum or deportation cases in American immigration courts. More than 18,000 migrants, including asylum seekers, have been returned to Tijuana and other Mexican cities since the policy was put into place, according to Mexico’s National Migration Institute.

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