U.S. Customs and Border Protection released statistics showing a steady decline in border apprehensions in the San Diego sector since March, with a low in August that was 51 percent below last year.
The decline follows implementation of President Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy in January, and Mexico’s pledge in June to deploy thousands of troops from its newly formed National Guard to its southern border with Guatemala to stop migrants from Central America.
“This is is a welcome relief and indication that the administration’s policies are having a significant positive effect,” said Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison in releasing the San Diego statistics on Thursday.
But he added that “more needs to be done as we have not seen this level of activity in San Diego sector since fiscal year 2010 when we had more than 65,500 people apprehended.”
With a few weeks remaining in the 2019 federal fiscal year, agents in the San Diego sector counted 51,821 apprehensions through August, but only 6% of the total — just 3,326 — in August.
Just over half of the migrants apprehended were from countries other than Mexico, primarily nations in Central America.
The CBP said that with fewer apprehensions, agents have more time and resources to devote to migrants who may legitimately merit asylum.
The San Diego sector encompasses 56,831 square miles including 931 miles of coastal border from the California border with Mexico north to Oregon.