Border crossings plunged to a 45-year low while arrests by deportation officers soared during President Donald Trump’s first months in office, as his efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration system went into effect.
The Border Patrol made 310,531 arrests during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a decline of 25 percent from 415,816 a year earlier and the lowest level since 1971. Despite the significant decline, border arrests increased every month since May – largely families and unaccompanied children.
Reasons for the precipitous drop in border arrests are unclear but Trump’s election may have deterred people from trying. Trump has yet to get funding for the first installment of his proposed border wall with Mexico and the number of Border Patrol agents has declined as the government’s struggles to fill vacancies continues under his presidency.
But officials stressed that they still believe the border wall is necessary nonetheless.