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Illegal Border Crossings Plunge During Trump's First Month

US Mexico Border AP
US Mexico Border AP

The number of people arrested trying to cross the U.S. southern border illegally dropped dramatically during President Donald Trump's first month in office.

"These measures reflect that both the economy and the border are already responding to the president's agenda, even while we're still in the beginning stages of putting his policies in place," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during a Thursday press briefing.
The Border Patrol says agents arrested 23,000 people trying to cross illegally in February, compared to 42,000 arrests in January.  

That's the lowest monthly number since 2012, but it's not clear exactly what caused it.  

While several factors have historically played a role in the number of illegal aliens crossing the border – such as the economy and violence in their native countries – the chief influence has been U.S. immigration policy.
The Trump administration is crediting the president's tough stance on immigration for the sharp decline in border crossings.  

"The early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact," Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement.

Mexico, however, is cautioning against reading too much into the one-month drop.

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