By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) The number of people crossing illegally into the United States has fallen below 100,000 for the first time in months, according to new government figures, signaling success by the Trump administration to solicit more cooperation in stopping migrant traffic from the governments of Mexico and Guatemala.
Last month, some 82,049 people were encountered or apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a 21-percent decline over June when there 104,344 people were apprehended, and down 43 percent from May.
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security reported, the number of family units and unaccompanied minors crossing the border has also fallen.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan traveled to a border town—Yuma, Arizona—on Thursday to provide details regarding the declining number of illegal border crossings.
He told reporters that in mid-June there were more than 1,250 children in custody for 72 hours or longer, but that figure had fallen to about 160 children by Wednesday, while average in-custody times had been reduced to about 24 hours.
Previously, he said, about 10,000 families were in custody, but now only about 2,000 remain in custody awaiting adjudication of immigration and asylum claims.
The number of single adults in custody has fallen from around 8,000 to around 2,000.
While crossings during the heat of summer typically decline, McAleenan said the May-to-July drop was more dramatic this year than in previous years, an indication that the Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts with Mexico and Guatemala are paying off.
Still, McAleenan said the crisis on the border is far from over.
“The situation is improving by every available metric, but, and I want to be very clear about this, we remain at and beyond crisis levels,” McAleenan said.
The U.S. and Guatemala reached an agreement in recent weeks in which the Central American nation will become a “Safe Third Country,” meaning migrants from other countries who pass through en route to the United States will not be able to claim asylum at the U.S. border.
A Guatemalan court has ruled the agreement unconstitutional, but the Trump administration believes the agreement will nevertheless be enforced by month’s end.
Mexico agreed in June to step up enforcement of its own border and illegal immigration laws after President Trump threatened to levy a 5 percent tariff on goods coming into the United States.
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