In recent months, we've seen the so-called "Trump Effect" in the stock market, but now there's growing evidence of a "Trump Effect" at the border. The Department of Homeland Security reports that illegal border crossings--measured by arrests and apprehensions of people at the southern border--fell by about 40 percent during President Trump's first month in office. The exact number of border apprehensions dropped from 31,578 in January to 18,762 in February, according to the DHS figures. In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly specifically noted the "dramatic drop in numbers" of border arrests since January 20th, and called the trend "encouraging."
Foreign policy and border experts are not necessarily surprised at these numbers. "There were people crossing the border trying to get across into the United States before Donald Trump took office, before new border security measures were put in place, and so to a certain extent it's natural that there would be a decline afterwards," says Rick Wilson of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, in an interview with Fox News.
In the months leading up to and immediately following Trump's election there was a surge of illegal border crossings. "We saw the numbers of apprehensions go up last fall and through the winter during a time of year when that's not usually happening...usually at that time of year the numbers are going down," says Wilson. "And so I think that was also related to the elections."
Secretary Kelly says the border apprehension numbers are currently trending toward their lowest monthly total in at least five years. But Wilson isn't so sure that this isn't just a temporary lull because Trump just took office. "The real question is are we in a permanently different situation because of the change in rhetoric, and more importantly the change in policy," he says.